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Autonomous farming has been on the rise in recent years, utilizing robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to boost farmers’ productivity, reduce labour costs and improve crop yield and quality. The increasing world population and the need for global food security are some of the factors fueling the advancements in autonomous farming and precision agriculture.

Last year’s PARC Engineers League edition was centered around sustainable agriculture and the challenges involved autonomously navigating the PARC AgRobot (a wheeled mobile robot) through a lettuce field and identifying weeds.

Maintaining the theme of sustainable agriculture, the 2024 PARC Engineers League invites participants to envision how to achieve a more sustainable agricultural future in Africa by implementing robotics.

This year’s challenge is to build software to operate the PARC AgRobot to perform the following autonomous tasks: precise navigation through a tomato field, and determining the crop yield of the field by detecting the fruits on each tomato plant using computer vision.

The competition consists of two phases: the Simulation Phase and the Real World Phase.

Simulation Phase

In this phase, teams will work with the PARC AgRobot in simulation (using the Gazebo Classic Robot Simulator) and use state-of-the-art tools (e.g., ROS, OpenCV, etc.) to develop solutions to complete two fundamental tasks for agricultural robots:

  • Autonomous field navigation
  • Crop yield estimation

This phase is fully virtual. Participating teams will follow the instructions in this documentation to set up their PCs and download the complete simulation packages required to complete the tasks. Teams are required to complete and upload their solutions on or before the Phase 1 deadline. Following team evaluations, best performing teams will qualify to compete in Phase 2: Real World Phase.

Real World Phase

This phase will take place in-person in Senegal in July 2024. Teams will get the opportunity to integrate their software physical PARC AgRobot system and compete in a partner farm for the final competition.

Certificates & Awards

All participants who qualify to the real world phase will receive a certificate of participation.