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2nd International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge

| June 13, 2019

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Tencent, will organise the 2nd International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge in which multidisciplinary teams from around the world will use artificial intelligence to remotely produce vegetables. The goal is to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can produce greenhouse grown vegetables more efficiently and effectively.

In the future more greenhouses will be needed to produce food. Autonomous greenhouses and remote digital farming can help feed more people with vitamin and mineral rich produce, increase food security and produce more vegetables with fewer resources such as water and energy. Significant advances are being made in automation, information technology and artificial intelligence, which will help growers to better analyse and process information and make better decisions.

Setting up the plants for the 2018 Challenge. Photo: Wageningen University & Research

WUR and Tencent are inviting artificial intelligence and horticultural experts to participate in the second edition of the International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge, which begins this autumn. The goal of the challenge is to produce a cherry tomato crop within six months with high quality, high productivity and high resource efficiency in greenhouses of WUR, the Netherlands, remotely.

Teams will get their own greenhouse compartment and make choices with respect to the control settings of greenhouse actuators and crop management in order to control the tomato production and quality remotely. Teams can also add their own sensors/cameras to generate additional information. Each team will be able to extract data from their greenhouse compartment and couple it to their own machine learning algorithms to decide on the control settings for the next day/period. They will also send the control settings back to the system so it can control the actuators automatically or send instructions for crop handling to reach a pre-defined goal. WUR will continuously measure performance criteria per compartment and share them with each team and the public.

During the first edition of the Autonomous greenhouse challenge in 2018, five international teams were challenged to control a greenhouse cucumber production during a four-month period with their artificial intelligence algorithms. The first competition was a successful benchmark experiment demonstrating that these algorithms can control greenhouse climate, irrigation and crop growth remotely. The winning team outperformed experienced manual growers.

Teams must consist of experts with a proven background in different fields such as artificial intelligence, sensor technology, crop physiology and horticultural production. Companies and start-ups are invited as well as scientists and students. A team must include at least three members. At least one team member must be a student.

Information on the International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge and how to register can be found at: www.autonomousgreenhouses.com

Published in International Pest Control – May/June 2019 issue.

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