Showcasing engineering, computer science, and critical thinking ability, student teams will program a farm robot to perform and automate an essential farm function on any crop or farm size using the Farm-Ng robotics platform with real-life farm automation challenges led by the University of California.
Grow student interest in the field of ag robotics and provide hands-on interdisciplinary collaborative research experience for undergraduates.
Create new solutions to on-farm challenges with robotics with a particular focus on small-farm applications.
Integrate small robotics into agricultural research to accelerate use-inspired translation.
Universities, colleges, and high schools in the U.S. may participate in the challenge, where they will coordinate and manage student teams locally at their campuses, according to the rules and coordination of the AIFS/VINE team led from UC Davis.
Each campus will need to purchase or loan a Farm-Ng robot to participate in the challenge, at the cost of $19,000, plus any costs of tools or supplies to support the team projects. The campus will then own the robot and can use it for future teaching or research applications after the event.
AIFS, Farm-Ng, The VINE, and other partners will host virtual training sessions on developing applications for the robot prior to the challenges.
Student-build applications can be commercialized according to campus technology transfer rules, but must be commercialized through the Farm-Ng marketplace.
Finalist teams will participate in a demo event at the conclusion of the challenge to present their robot for judging.
Each participating school must assign a designated employee as site coordinator to purchase and manage the Farm-Ng robot prior to the challenge, recruit student participants, facilitate student teams, and be the primary contact with the AIFS/VINE team.
Schools must be able to provide suitable resources and location to support the student team(s).
Entry categories and team composition:
Team size 4-10 students
May be a mix of undergraduate and graduate students as well as high school students
Each team must have at least 4 undergraduate students and no more than 3 graduate students
Team size 6-15 students
May be a mix of college students and high school students
All teams must have at least one faculty member, postdoc, or staff member serving in an advisory/oversight role.
All teams must implement a safety review process, to be guided by the UC organizing team.
Several teams may compete using the same Farm-Ng machine. The site coordinator at each school will determine the schedule for each team’s hands-on work time.
Teams may seek additional sponsorship or funding for costs of competition.
Any IP developed during the challenge will be owned by the developing team, under the tech transfer rules of the participating university. Farm-Ng will have first right of refusal to commercialize the innovation by the developing team.