University Teams Compete in Field Robot Event

University teams from across Europe recently competed in a field robotics event in which they were tasked with completing real-life farming challenges.

DLG

The 14th International Field Robot Event (FRE) was held in conjunction with this year’s DLG-Feldtage, which took place at the Maria Burghausen estate in Hassfurt (Lower Franconia) from June 14-16. A total of 16 student teams from seven countries put their field robots to the test in this annual competition, which was organized for the third time this year by the University of Hohenheim.

The overall winner was the team from the University of Osnabrück with the robot "The Great Cornholio." Second place went to the team from Harper Adams University, based at Newport (United Kingdom) with the robot "Eric," while third place went to the team from the University of Siegen and the robot "Zephyr."
 
The robots taking part in this year’s FRE had to compete in four different disciplines that involved solving problems in the trial field. For the first two tasks, the field robots had to display their navigation skills, with the aim of autonomously driving quickly, precisely and purposefully on the experimental field. The conditions on the test field were arranged to correspond to those that would be found in real-life farming situations.

Discipline 1 – Basic Navigation

  • 1st place: University of Siegen, Robot "Zephyr"
  • 2nd place: Aalto University Helsinki (Finland), Robot "Agronaut"
  • 3rd place: Hochschule Osnabrück, Robot "The Great Cornholio"

Discipline 2 – Advanced Navigation

  • 1st place: Aalto University Helsinki (Finland), Robot "Agronaut"
  • 2nd place: University of Siegen, Robot "Zephyr"
  • 3rd place: Hochschule Osnabrück, Robot "The Great Cornholio" and Technical University of Braunschweig, Robot "Helios/FREDT"

Discipline 3 – weed control

The third task was particularly challenging to the robots as they had to find weed plants and treat them like a conventional sprayer.

  • 1st place: Hochschule Osnabrück, Robot "The Great Cornholio"
  • 2nd place: Harper Adams University (UK), Robot "Eric"
  • 3rd place: Karlsruher Institute for Technology, Robot "Betelgeuze/Kamaro"

Discipline 4 – Sowing

For the fourth discipline, the field robots had to automatically load up with seeds from a “filling station” in the trial field, and then plant them in an agronomically correct manner.

  • 1st place: Harper Adams University (UK), Robot "Eric"
  • 2nd place: University of Siegen, Robot "Zephyr"
  • 3rd place: Wageningen University (Netherlands), Robot "Agrifac Bullseye"

Freestyle

The final freestyle task allowed the teams to show off their robots as they undertook a self-selected agriculture-related task that was designed to make their machines stand out from the rest. The level of creativity required in this section meant excitement and fun was guaranteed on the trial field.

  • 1st place: Karlsruher Institute for Technology, Robot "Betelgeuze/Kamaro"
  • 2nd place: Technical University of Braunschweig, Robot "Helios/FREDT"
  • 3rd place: Aalto University Helsinki (Finland), Robot "Agronaut"

The new "Field Robot Design Award" was presented for the first time this year, with the Student Research Centre Ueberlingen taking the prize for the robot "Soifakischtle" (the word for soapbox in the Swabian dialect spoke in the region where the school is based). Awarded by BOSCH Deepfield Robotics, the prize went to the robot judged to have the most successful design, that represented the best overall technical solution, and displayed excellent robustness and reliability.

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