Posts Tagged: The VINE
UC Davis, University of Nebraska and UC Santa Cruz teams honored for ag tech innovation
[Updated June 9, 2023, to add Guilherme De Moura Araujo to Amiggie advisors.]
A robot designed to reduce farmworker injuries and streamline harvest took the top prize in the Farm Robotics Challenge 2023. The challenge spotlighted the exceptional innovation and technical prowess of students from universities across the United States. Teams from UC Davis, the University of Nebraska and UC Santa Cruz were presented awards in a virtual ceremony June 3. Organized by the AI Institute for Next Gen Food Systems (AIFS), The VINE, Fresno-Merced Future of Food (F3) Innovation and farm-ng, the inaugural annual event celebrated student innovators' contributions to the advancement of agricultural technology.
The Farm Robotics Challenge, sponsored by Beck's Hybrids, provided a platform for students to demonstrate engineering, computer science, critical thinking and business skills. They engaged in real-world farming scenarios, creating and programming farm robots using the farm-ng platform. The contest demonstrated how students can apply technology and innovation against challenges in agriculture.
The awards ceremony recognized the following teams for their exceptional contributions:
Grand Prize Winner: Amiggie from UC Davis, a robot designed to assist human pickers and streamline harvest operations. The robot monitors risky postures, carries harvested crops, and streamlines the unloading process for increased efficiency.
Team advisors: Juan Fernando Villacres, Guilherme De Moura Araujo, Lance Halsted
- Kaiming Fu
- Yuankai Zhu
- Xuchang Tang
- Qikai Gao
- Shuchen Ye
- Hualong Yu
- Yihan Wu
- Jinduo Guo
- Hang Ji
- Xiaotan “Molly” Mo
Complexity in Design Prize: Huskerbot from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an innovative robot that combines machine learning and precise herbicide application for more sustainable farming.
Team advisor: Santosh K. Pitla
- Amlan Balabantaray
- Shaswati Behera
- Nipuna Chamara Abeysinghe Herath Mudiyanselag
- Krishna Muvva
- Kaden Monk
- Kashish Syed
- Zane Rikli
- Ryleigh Grove
Elegance in Design Prize:Robo-ag from UC Davis, an autonomous robot designed to target pesticide application to minimize chemical waste and environmental impact.
Team advisors: Mason Earles, Alex Olenskyj, Vivian Vuong
- Heesup Yun
- Earl Ranario
- Nishi Bhagat
- Riya Desai
- Connor Davainis
- Summer Reeves
- Amir Mazraawi
Small Farms Robot Design Prize: Electrified Slugs from UC Santa Cruz, autonomous navigation software that efficiently weeds plant lines on small organic farms.
Team advisors: Dejan Milutinovic, Darryl Wong
- Oliver Fuchs
- Joshua Gamlen
- Katherine Rogacheva
Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources and founder of the VINE, commended the competition's success.
"The Farm Robotics Challenge is about shaping the future of agriculture by inspiring the next generation of ag tech pioneers," said Youtsey. "The ideas that emerged from this competition are solutions for today's farming challenges, highlighting how technology can contribute to a more sustainable, productive and resilient food system."
Ethan Rublee, CEO/Founder of farm-ng, was highly impressed by the dedication, creativity and vision demonstrated by the student teams.
"The innovative solutions these students have engineered is a testament to their determination and ingenuity," Rublee noted. "They're not just addressing the challenges facing agriculture today — they're proactively anticipating the problems of tomorrow. It's truly exciting to imagine where their ideas will take us in the future."
Steve Brown, AIFS associate director, commended the students for being a part of a meaningful moment in the history of agriculture.
“With 2 billion more people to feed in the next 25 years, there are grand challenges that this generation realizes are directly in front of them, and they are meeting those challenges,” Brown said. “It was encouraging to see the imagination of this generation of makers of all talents leveraging technology, which is now able to bring their ideas to life.”
In addition to recognition and prize money — $10,000 for the Grand Prize Winner and $5,000 for each category winner — the Farm Robotics Challenge winners will have the opportunity to showcase their innovative projects at FIRA USA 2023 in September. This premier event in Salinas California serves as a global stage for agricultural technology innovation, presenting an opportunity for these young innovators to make their mark on an international level. Learn more about FIRA USA 2023 and register at https://fira-usa.com
“All participating teams deserve recognition for their dedication, hard work and innovative solutions,” said Youtsey.
Other competitors included Autonomous Pasture Weeding Robot and Autonomous Lettuce Weeding Robot from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo; Team Klaatu from UC Santa Barbara; The Maize Runners from Brigham Young University; Team 307, Team 306, and Bobcats from UC Merced; TartanPest from Carnegie Mellon University; Children of the Corn, Dig Doug, and PruneScape from Purdue University; and SARDOG from Fresno State.
For more information about the Farm Robotics Challenge and future events, please visit https://farmbot.ai.
[Updated June 9, 2023, to add Guilherme De Moura Araujo to Amiggie advisors.]/h3>
The Hague, NL – The dairy industry in both California and the Netherlands faces four major challenges: manure management, enteric methane, labor, and sustainability measurements and standards. To identify existing and emerging market solutions and assess the impact of these solutions across the four categories and animal welfare, an innovation assessment tool has been created.
The VINE, an initiative of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Wageningen Livestock Research - Dairy Campus have released their novel Global Dairy Industry Innovation Assessment Tool. This tool is the first step in a joint dairy collaborative aimed at promoting sustainable, climate-smart agriculture for a better future.
"The partnership between The VINE and Wageningen Livestock Research - Dairy Campus has enabled us to combine our expertise and insights to create an overview of these key challenges and opportunities for the dairy industry,” said Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer for UC ANR. “Understanding this landscape of innovation allows us to leverage our shared resources to support and drive the commercialization of solutions.”
“Innovation is key for the future development of the dairy sector in both countries” said Kees de Koning, manager Innovation at Dairy Campus.
This tool provides a snapshot of the current state of innovation addressing some of the challenges in the dairy industry, showcasing innovative technologies and products that are, or have the potential to, make a difference on a global scale. By identifying the most promising solutions and encouraging collaboration among key industry players, the team aims to drive further progress toward a sustainable dairy industry.
The database lists companies, identifies which challenges their product addresses and ranks the maturity of the product from “proof of concept” to “mature.”
“This Global Dairy Industry Innovation Assessment Tool is designed to give insights on the opportunities and tradeoffs inherent in deploying any new technology,” said Mareese Keane, co-founder of Opengate and partner of The VINE. “It is a living database and any companies that want to add or update their entry are invited to get in touch."
To complement the assessment tool, The Vine and Wageningen dairy collaboration are working on the following projects:
- Building Blocks for Virtual Future Farm: Envisioning a theoretical farm with zero emissions or maximum circularity by leveraging Dutch precision technology and California large-scale farming expertise.
- The VINE VIP (Validation of Innovations Project): Focusing first on value-added products from manure, participants will look for technologies that provide value-added products at scale from manure, beyond energy and direct application as fertilizer.
- A delegation of California-based dairy industry innovators and operators are invited to join an innovation tour of the Dutch dairy industry, starting Nov. 6.
Click here to view the Dairy Innovation Assessment Tool: https://airtable.com/shrMIHqbWNnwhJs8y/tblN8IzvBQ5kAwSou
For more information about the Dairy Innovation Assessment Tool, how the companies included were selected, and how to submit or update additional entries, please visit https://thevine.io/towards-better-dairy-global-innovation-landscape.
About The VINE: The VINE, an initiative of the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, is California's agriculture, food and biotech innovation network. The VINE aims to harness the power of open innovation to help industries and entrepreneurs grow and scale globally while catalyzing technology innovation and commercialization for productive, sustainable, and equitable food systems.
About Wageningen Livestock Research - Dairy Campus: Wageningen Dairy Campus is a leading research institution in the Netherlands focused on dairy farming and sustainability. The Dairy Campus provides a platform for education, research and innovation, bringing together industry partners, academi, and government organizations to advance sustainable practices in the dairy sector.
Researchers seek insight on emerging controlled environment agriculture trends
Greenhouse operators are encouraged to participate in the 2023 State of Controlled Environment Agriculture survey. IUNU, a technology company that specializes in AI and computer vision solutions for the agriculture industry, and the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources are conducting the survey to gain insights on emerging trends and challenges to share with the controlled environment agriculture industry.
The survey takes approximately 25 minutes to complete. All growers using CEA – greenhouse, high tunnel or indoor – are invited to participate. All data collected is confidential and shared only as anonymous trends. No identifying information is ever shared. Growers who participate will get early access to the survey results report and will get access to an exclusive webinar to discuss the results with the authors of the report.
The fourth State of CEA Survey can be completed at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FVXJSY9.
The report, first released in 2016, was formerly titled “State of Indoor Farming” and managed by Artemis, which was acquired by IUNU in 2021.
This year, IUNU has expanded the survey to include the different leading segments of the controlled environment agriculture industry: greenhouse fruit and vegetable, and greenhouse ornamental production.
UC ANR's VINE agrifood technology innovation program, Global Controlled Environment Agriculture Consortium (GCEAC), and UC Davis-led AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS) are collaborating on the report.
“An industry-led, market-driven approach to guiding innovation priorities and investments is critical as we consider the future of indoor farming,” said Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer and co-founder of The VINE. “I'm thrilled to partner with IUNU on the development of this State of CEA report with our UC innovation teams from The VINE, GCEAC and AIFS to create a robust state of CEA report that will guide our CEA open innovation priorities this year.”
Since the survey launched in 2016, more than 500 growers have participated in the survey and more than 2 million people have downloaded the report. The industry reports have become one of the most widely circulated and respected sources of industry data.
"This report is a trusted resource for the industry and we're thrilled to bring it back in an expanded capacity,” Allison Kopf, IUNU chief growth officer, said. “Over the past year, we've seen a swell of news around our industry. This report will go deeper into those stories and share data on how companies are performing, big market opportunities, and the real challenges growers are facing.”
Past CEA reports are available for download at https://artemisag.com/guides_reports.
Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Seattle, IUNU aims to close the loop in greenhouse autonomy and is focused on being the world's leading controlled environment specialist. IUNU's flagship platform LUNA combines software with a variety of high-definition cameras – both fixed and mobile – and environmental sensors to keep track of the minutiae of plant growth and health in indoor ag settings. LUNA's goal is to turn commercial greenhouses into precise, predictable, demand-based manufacturers that optimize yield, labor and product quality. www.IUNU.com
About The VINE by UC ANR
The VINE is California's agriculture, food and biotech innovation network powered by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. We believe that the state's continued prosperity rests on creation of more productive, sustainable and equitable food systems. Every day, we harness the power of open innovation to connect entrepreneurs to a broad network of public and private sector resources to enable them to grow and scale globally, build collaborations that catalyze the development of climate-smart technology-based solutions to solve industry challenges, and grow regional capacity to support global innovation as an economic opportunity – because our future, and the nation's, depends on it.
The Global Controlled Environment Agriculture Consortium – an initiative of The VINE – seeks to build a worldwide ecosystem to bring technology to market that addresses global challenges in food, health and sustainability. GCEAC is an open innovation partnership between industry, university and government sectors in the United States and The Netherlands, led from California./h3>
University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) has been awarded a $1 million UC Climate Action Innovation & Entrepreneurship grant for its VINE Climate Smart Agrifood Innovation Program. The VINE, a UC ANR program advancing sustainable agriculture and food innovation, will use the grant to develop new technologies and techniques that help California farmers adapt to climate change.
"Expanded programming from The VINE will improve UC ANR's overall ability to serve our mission of improving the lives of all Californians," said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
California's agricultural sector is the largest in the United States, producing over 400 crops that account for 25% of the nation's food production and 40% of its fruits, vegetables and tree nuts.
However, climate change is expected to have a significant impact on the productivity and resilience of California's working landscapes. Higher temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are projected to increase water demand for crops and create a more limited growing season that will produce lower yields in some crops. Additionally, climate change may increase weed growth and insect damage, leading to higher uses of herbicides and pesticides.
“We are thrilled to receive the UC Climate Action Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award,” said Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR's chief innovation officer. “With this grant, we will be able to support even more entrepreneurs and innovators in developing climate-resilient solutions for California's agriculture and food systems."
"Our ultimate goal is to build a bioeconomy in California's food valleys that rivals Silicon Valley in size and importance to the future U.S. economy, while also addressing urgent climate crises and advancing equity for underserved populations," Youtsey said.
The VINE Climate Smart Agrifood Innovation Program is designed to identify, commercialize, and scale science and technology breakthroughs that make food production more sustainable. The VINE team has already supported entrepreneurs in the areas of controlled environment agriculture, precision agriculture, robotics, biologicals, climate-resilient crops, livestock health, and other topics that have direct or indirect mitigating effects on climate change.
The UC Climate Action grant will enable The VINE program to expand its support for startups and entrepreneurs developing climate-resilient solutions for California's food system. The program will include the creation of a VINE Climate Solutions Seed Fund, which will provide project support for testing, trialing and demonstrating agrifood technology products or services to support commercial expansion.
The VINE Navigator Service will be expanded to provide matchmaking, mentoring, talent identification, finance connections and technical assistance to entrepreneurs from UC campuses, across California, or startups around the globe that have climate solutions in the agrifood sector.
An example of this work is farm-ng, a farm robotics start-up based in Watsonville that The VINE has been advising. With the networking opportunities facilitated by The VINE, farm-ng was able to secure 20 new customers, generating an estimated $500,000 in revenue. The VINE's involvement also enabled farm-ng to establish a professional manufacturing facility and employ local talent from disadvantaged communities.
The award is part of a historic $185 million partnership between UC and the state of California to tackle the climate crisis, from developing new methods for carbon capture to creating innovative coping strategies for drought, wildfire and other impacts of a warming planet.
The VINE program aims to create a next-generation agrifood technology bioeconomy in California's food valleys to promote sustainable economic growth, address climate crises, and advance equity for underserved regions and populations. The VINE team will work closely with local and regional partners to identify key industry-driven gaps and opportunities across the food system and provide critical support to startups and entrepreneurs developing new solutions for climate mitigation and adaptation.
For more information, please visit The VINE website: thevine.io.
College students are invited to develop a robot that makes farm work easier while competing for cash prizes and bragging rights in the Farm Robotics Challenge, a three-month robotics development competition running from Feb. 1 to May 13, 2023.
The challenge is being sponsored by The VINE, an initiative of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources focused on agricultural innovation, in partnership with the AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems (AIFS), farm-ng robotics company, and the Fresno-Merced Future of Food (F3) Innovation coalition.
"Our primary objective for the Farm Robotics Challenge is to empower young innovators to explore careers in agriculture technology and innovation," said Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer for UC ANR and head of the VINE. "The agrifood technology industry is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing sectors in the economy right now, estimated to reach $30.5 billion by 2050. Yet, because of a lack of exposure or access, our brightest minds end up entering other sectors, taking their talents and abilities with them. We hope this new competition changes that and reverses the talent flow back into agriculture."
“In order to have a next-generation food system, we need next-generation agricultural robotics developers,” said Steve Brown, AIFS associate director. “There is tremendous innovation potential in this domain that just needs more connecting points to the coders and makers.
The Farm Robotics Challenge is open to any university or college in the U.S. Student teams will be asked to address a production farming topic on any crop or size of farm, with a desired focus on small farms, by automating an essential farm-related task using the farm-ng robotics platform. Each campus will need to purchase a farm-ng robot or borrow one to participate in the challenge.
Specific challenges will either be pre-identified for teams to choose from, or teams may choose to create additional or custom functionality to solve a self-identified challenge. Challenges will fit into one or more of the following categories: autonomy, artificial intelligence or attachment. Virtual training sessions will be offered throughout the competition to provide teams with expert guidance and technical help from AIFS, farm-ng, The VINE and other partners.
Student teams will be judged on the following criteria, with a grand prize and several specific prizes for top teams in each category: accuracy and completeness, market fit and commercial potential, design elegance and ease of use, cost-effectiveness, safety, interdisciplinary inclusion, and social and economic impact. Winners will receive cash prizes and connections to robotic companies for internships and jobs, among other benefits.
For more information, please visit the Farm Robotics Challenge website at https://farmbot.ai. If you have questions, contact HannaBartram, AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems education and public engagement coordinator, at email@example.com.