U of R Students Win agBOT Unmanned Seeder Competition

(l-r) Dean Kertai, Caleb Friedrick, Sam Dietrich and Joshua Friedrick with their automated seeder following the competition in Indiana. Photo courtesy of Dave Charrlin.

Three engineering students from the University of Regina won an international ag robotics competition in Indiana last week.

The agBOT Challenge saw teams compete to build the most efficient, unmanned seeder, capable of planting two different varieties in half-mile passes while maintaining control and providing data back to the operator (see the lengthy and impressive list of expectations here).

The U of R team, consisting of Sam Dietrich, Joshua Friedrick and Caleb Friedrick, won the contest and its $50,000 prize, beating competition from universities that included Purdue, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.

“It was very rewarding to win. We put in a lot of work,” said Friedrick, in a statement from the university. “It was an amazingly well organized competition.”

The team was supervised by Dr. Mehran Mehrandezh, associate professor of Industrial Systems Engineering, in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and received technical expertise from former U of R student Dean Kertai.

Another competitor from Saskatchewan — Nathan Muchowski of Muchowski Farms at Odessa — tied for third place.

The agBOT Challenge is sponsored by a communications company called airBridge Agricultural Communication Solutions. In 2017, participants will focus on pest and weed identification and eradication, while the 2018 challenge will be a competition for harvest method robotics.

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