Paris, 4 June 2007

EFITA newsletter / 313 / European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

If you meet a pb to get this issue (that includes diagrams) of the EFITA newsletter

See you at the next EFITA congress in Glasgow
2 - 5 July 2007 - Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, UK
Contact: Caroline PARKER
E-mail: c.g.parker(a)

CanalAgri Web TV (Burgundy – France)
You can find the archives of videos broadcasted last 14 an 15 May on the web site (

Field robot day 2007
14 June: warming up, demonstration
15 June: competition
16 June: workshops
The Netherlands.
The Wageningen Field Robot Event shows a vision of the future of modern precision agriculture. Right now, a small revolution is taking place. A new breed of robots will soon be able to carry out a variety of tasks in row crops, such as weeding, spraying and disease monitoring. Agricultural robots working in a field, completely autonomous: the Field Robot Event proves this is possible!
Intelligent robots will compete in 4 complicated tasks:

1. Robust navigation in a maize field with curved rows
The robot should cover as much distance as possible in 3 minutes time while navigating between curved rows of a maize field, making a head-land turn and returning in the adjacent row. See figure 1 for illustration. If mother nature is willing to support this task, there won’t be plants missing in the rows.
This task is all about speed, accuracy and robustness of navigation and smoothness of operation.
Figure 1. Robust navigation in a maize field with curved rows.

2. Advanced robust navigation in a maize field with straight rows
The robot should cover as much distance as possible in 3 minutes time while navigating between straight rows of maize plants. The robot should be able to follow a certain pre-defined pattern over the field. See figure 2. At various places in the maize field, plants will be missing in either one or both rows over a length of maximally 1 m. A head-land of only 1.5 m will be available for turning.

Coding of the pattern of the path through the maize field is done as follows. S means Start, L means left-hand turn, R means right-hand turn, F means Finish, the number before the L or R represents the path that has to be entered after the turn. So, 2L means: enter the second path after a left-hand turn. 3R means: enter the third path after a right hand turn. The path shown in figure is coded as follows: S, L3, R2, L1, R1, R3, L2, R1, F.

Competitors may choose from two options:
1. use a path of which the code is made available upon registration. This path will be the same for all competitors.
2. use a path of which the code is made available to the competitors 1 hour before the start of the competition without having the opportunity to test it in the maize rows.
Clearly and definitely, good performance using option 2 will be rewarded with more points.

Figure 2. Advanced robust navigation along a complex pattern in a maize field with straight rows with plants missing


3. ‘Weed’ – control in a maize field
The robot should cover as much distance within 3 minutes time while navigating between straight rows of maize plants. In the maize field randomly distributed artificial weeds yellow golf balls have to be detected. Detection of a ‘weed’ should be demonstrated by producing a clear signal such as a flash-light or a sound. Additionally, a ‘weed-killing’ operation should be performed on the ‘weed’.

A set of 5 yellow golf balls that will be used during the event will be supplied to the competitors when they register.

Figure 3. ‘Weed’-control in a maize field

4. Free style
Robots are invited to perform a free-style operation. Fun is important in this task but agricultural relevance is emphasized.

Contact : Kees SCHUUR
E-mail: schuur(a)

Watch out: Do not show this to your wife
A woman in her fifties is at home, unclothed, happily jumping on her bed and squealing with delight.
Her husband watches her for a while and asks: "Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look ? What's the matter with you?"
The woman continues to bounce on the bed and says: "I don't care what you think. I just came from having a mammogram, and the doctor says that not only am I healthy, but I have the breasts of an 18 year-old.”
The husband replies: "What did he say about your 55-year old ass?"
"Your name never came up," she replies.
Contact: Bernard AUXENFANS
E-mail: bauxenfans(a)

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