CAU Sweeps ASABE Robotics Competitions

Wednesday, August 01, 2018
CAU Sweeps ASABE Robotics Competitions

China Agricultural University (CAU) took home top honors in the 2018 ASABE Robotics Student Design Competition, held July 31 in Detroit. CAU teams won in both the advanced and beginner divisions.

Among the advanced teams, the University of Georgia and University of Florida finished second and third, respectively. Zhejiang University and Clemson University claimed those runner-up spots among the beginner teams. The beginners’ race was especially tight, with the top two teams achieving perfect scores. CAU used speed to edge out Zhejiang, completing the required technical task one second faster than Zhejiang.

"All the teams incorporated innovative solutions in their robot designs," said ASABE member Alireza Pourreza, University of California Cooperative Extension agricultural mechanization specialist, who coordinated the 2018 event. 

This year’s challenge involved identification, sorting and harvesting of apples. The robots were required to autonomously harvest "apples" on a field measuring 8 feet by 8 feet. The robots identified and selected eight mature apples (red ping-pong balls), removed and disposed of eight diseased or rotten apples (blue ping-pong balls) and left eight immature apples (green ping-pong balls) on the tree.

"China Agricultural University's Dream team presents one of the more prodigious designs in competition, covering two lanes at once and picking apples flawlessly," tweeted Michael Gutierrez, a University of Florida Extension water specialist, @IrriGatorUF https://twitter.com/IrriGatorUF/status/1024285164682264577.

"The increasing interest in the ASABE robotics competition every year reflects a global response to the need of automation and robotics in agriculture," explained Pourreza. "We aim to motivate young agricultural engineers to engage more with robotics and acquire an early-career experience that will prepare them for the future of agriculture and smart farming."

Fifteen university teams from the U.S., Canada and China competed in this year’s contest. Sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, the ASABE Robotics Student Design Competition allows undergraduate and graduate students to develop skills in robotic systems, electronics and sensing technologies by simulating a robotics solution to a common agricultural process.

Pourreza was interviewed by RFD-TV about the competition. Watch the video, tweeted by UC Davis: 

Founded in 1907, ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food and biological systems.

For more information, visit the 2018 ASABE robotics competition website: https://www.asabe.org/Awards-Competitions/Student-Awards-Competitions-Scholarships/Robotics-Student-Design-Competition.

Video of 2016 competition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1ymUiCr3Mc 

Video of 2017 competition: https://vimeo.com/250379863