Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

IUPUI places 2nd in the 4th Annual agBOT Challenge

May 23, 2019

Photography by Tom Campbell

Photography by Tom Campbell

The Purdue School of Engineering and Technology placed 2nd in the Weed and Feed Competition during the 4th Annual agBOT Challenge held May 16-18, 2019. Previously held at Gerrish Farms, this year’s challenge was relocated to Purdue’s Agronomy Center for Research and Education (ACRE) near West Lafayette due to the continued growth of the program.

“The agBOT Challenge was designed as a symbolic event to provide a vision of what could be possible if we had high tech and high-speed internet on the farm,” said Steve Gerrish, who founded the event with his daughter in 2015. “Competitions are a great way to drive innovation and create a cross-collaborative effort in the agtech space.”

The agBOT Challenge is an international competition to create autonomous robots capable of performing agricultural tasks. Teams from around the world compete to develop new technologies, showcased over two days of competitions. The competition starts with an all-ages agricultural innovation showcase–the NextGen Expo–featuring cutting-edge robotics from competing teams, universities, industry, and entrepreneurs.

Photography by Tom Campbell

The IUPUI had several mentors this year. Sohel Anwar and Andres Tovar, both associate professors of mechanical engineering mentored the team alongside Michael Golub, mechanical engineering academic lab supervisor. Also mentoring the team was Mohammad Al Hasan, associate professor of computer and information science, and former mechanical engineering student, Tim Allen currently with A&R Erectors.

”Both of our agBOT teams worked tirelessly to make the two versions of the agricultural robots ready for the AgBot Challenge Competition 2019. This year the weed detection algorithm was further enhanced resulting in better accuracy which was instrumental in winning the 2nd prize in Weed and Feed category”, said Sohel Anwar.

 “This year, our agBOT team was supported by 20 students from three different schools: Purdue School of Engineering and Technology, Purdue School of Science, and the Herron School of Art + Design. The collaboration between different disciplines was a differentiating factor in our robots,” said Andres Tovar.

Students participating on this year's team include: Arjun Ambasana, Aniket Shimpi, Nazmuzzaman Khan, Michael Miller, Harsh Saksena, Omkar Parkar, Mayur Waghela, Nicholas Peskind, Megan Fraider, Grady Bennet, Matt Skoog, Thomas Bennett, Alec Schory, Trevor Hansen, Tanner Cline, Gus Post, Kim Qian, Minh-Tri Dang, and Haley Francis-Halstead.

 “The agBOT project created a doorway for engineering students to apply their skills into a real-world problem. We have gained valuable experience from this competition to become a better engineer,” said Nazmuzzaman Khan, Ph.D. student working on artificial intelligence/machine learning and weed detection.

The IUPUI team also competed in the agBOT Mining for Microbes and Microfauna Competition. The team was sponsored by the IUPUI Welcoming Campus Innovation Fund. This fund also provided support for the participation of IUPUI teams in other college competition, including the SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, SAE Formula Hybrid, and Shell Ecomarathon.