agBOT Competition Helping Technology 'Earn Its Wings'

Posted: Updated:
The challenge involves autonomously loading and seeding 2 acres at Gerrish Farms in Rockville. The challenge involves autonomously loading and seeding 2 acres at Gerrish Farms in Rockville.
ROCKVILLE -

A competition for unmanned agricultural innovations is underway and attracting international attention. Eleven teams are tasked with fully developing a machine that can autonomously load seed, then plant and fertilize a two-acre parcel at Gerrish Farms in Parke County. agBOT Challenge competitors range from IUPUI and Purdue University to the University of Regina in Canada and Grit Robotics of Colorado. The final day of competition will be held May 7.

Rockville-based airBridge LLC Chief Executive Officer Steve Gerrish, who launched the competition last July, says 30 additional teams expressed interest in future competitions. He believes the technology used in this competition is on the cusp of gaining larger industry acceptance and could be implemented "relatively quick" in fields when it is commercialized. Gerrish says it's a matter of when agbots can "earn its wings."

The competition has received attention from big ag industry players such as John Deere & Co. (NYSE: DE), Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MON) and sponsor Georgia-based AGCO Corp. Events throughout the year-long endeavor, Gerrish says, have drawn attendees capable of commercializing the technology.

Last month, the team from Purdue won the first hackathon related to the agBOT Challenge. The next hackathon, which will last 36 hours, is set for March 25th and 26th in Park County. It will focus on mapping and connectivity, tracking and placing the seed in soil and fertilizer application.

The teams are IUPUI, Purdue, Virginia Tech University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, University of Regina, Case Western Reserve University, MESATech, Grit Robotics, Muchowski Farms and Pee Dee Precision Ag.

Organizers say the team judges determine to have the most successful design will receive $50,000. Second place will win $30,000 and third will earn $20,000.

You can connect to more about the project by clicking here.

Rockville-based airBridge LLC Chief Executive Officer Steve Gerrish launched the competition last July and says Indiana is poised to be a leader in unmanned agriculture technology.
  • Perspectives

    • The First Thing Nonprofit Boards Should Focus On: Member Engagement

      There is no shortage of literature on how to run a nonprofit and what the board of directors should be doing. Do a quick search for “grant writing advice” or “board meeting agenda” and you will easily find hundreds of resources. But if there is so much helpful information around, why is serving on a nonprofit board sometimes so draining? After founding two nonprofits, Musical Family Tree and the Speak Easy, as well as serving on several nonprofit boards...

    More

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (photo courtesy The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Hammond Pulls 135 Jobs from Illinois

      A Hammond factory recently vacated by Michigan-based Lear Corp. didn’t sit empty for very long. Midland Metal Products has taken over the former seat factory, having relocated from Chicago after 95 years. 

    • (photo courtesy of TriCore Logic)

      Fort Wayne IT Firm Expanding

      TriCore Logic has announced plans to expand its office space and staff at its downtown Fort Wayne headquarters. The company plans to invest over $200,000 in the expansions. The 2010-founded company moved to the Anthony Wayne building in 2013, and now plan to grow their staff of five employees by up to eight over the next four years. 

    • ‘Transformation’ Continues in Westfield

      Indiana’s fastest growing city is showing no signs of slowing down.  Mayor Andy Cook says now that Westfield has established itself as a destination for family sports with the Grand Park Sports Campus, the $35 million Grand Junction Plaza will transform the city’s downtown into a destination, a place “where people want to be.”   Cook says the project, more than a decade in the making, is an example of a place making strategy necessary for Midwest...
    • (courtesy Wes Mills)

      Purdue: Farmland Values Decline Fifth Straight Year

      The value of top-quality farmland in Indiana has declined continuing a five-year trend, according to the latest data from Purdue University.  The statewide average of the best cropland is $8,212 per acre, down more than five percent, or $456 per acre, from the same period last year. Purdue’s survey shows average and poor-quality farmland values also dropped, but not as much. Average quality farmland declined by 0.9 percent. Purdue says the poor...

    • (Image courtesy of Horseshoe Casino Hammond.)

      Indiana Casinos to Begin Sports Betting

      A pair of northwest Indiana casinos will soon add sports wagering to their offerings. Horseshoe Hammond Casino and Ameristar Casino East Chicago are both set to open sports betting areas at their respective casinos ahead of the kickoff to the 2019 NFL season.