Farm Robotics Challenge launches 2024 college competition

Sep 28, 2023

Farm Robotics Challenge launches 2024 college competition

Sep 28, 2023

Students must form teams by Oct. 31; proposals due Nov. 15

Registration is now open for college teams competing in the 2024 Farm Robotics Challenge and proposals are due Nov. 15. The collegiate competition is organized by The VINE, an initiative of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, in collaboration with farm-ng, F3 Innovate and AI Institute for Next Gen Food Systems.

The Farm Robotics Challenge is an annual event where teams of students from universities and colleges across the United States tackle real-world farming challenges. The competition focuses on small-farm applications and leverages the state-of-the-art Amiga robot to integrate robotics into agricultural research. This year, the challenge is expanding by introducing a new division for two-year colleges, to allow more students to participate.

“The Farm Robotics Challenge is not just another competition; it's a transformative experience designed to cultivate the next generation of leaders in agricultural technology,” said Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer and founder of The VINE. “By participating in this challenge, students are not only showcasing their technical skills, but also contributing to a larger mission — advancing sustainable and efficient farming practices for the future. We're incredibly excited to see the solutions that these young entrepreneurs will bring to the table.”

Teams are expected to address a variety of production farming topics, which can range from any crop or size of farm. The challenges for the competition are categorized into three main areas: Autonomy, which includes course navigation; Artificial Intelligence, focusing on vision and sensing as well as dataset collection; and Attachment, which involves the development of devices that can be attached to the robot for farm tasks..

“We're proud to join forces with the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources for the second annual Farm Robotics Challenge," said Ethan Rublee, CEO of farm-ng. "With our Amiga robotics platform, our aim is to not only inspire the next wave of agricultural innovation, but also to prepare the workforce that will bring these innovations to life.”

Judging for the competition will be based on a range of criteria including the accuracy and completeness of the project, the elegance and ease of use in the design, safety measures, interdisciplinary inclusion, societal and economic impact, cost considerations, and the commercial and market potential of the solution.

The competition will consist of two main parts: market research, project proposal and fundraising; followed by development, coding and fabrication. Key dates include:

  • Team formation deadline: Oct. 31
  • Project proposal submission deadline: Nov. 15
  • Development start: Jan. 31, 2024
  • Judging: Sept. 6, 2024

Interested students, universities and investors are encouraged to visit the official Farm Robotics Challenge website at to fill out interest forms and get involved. The website also features detailed information about the challenges and judging criteria.

About The VINE

The VINE, an initiative of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, is California's agriculture, food, and biotech innovation network. Our mission is 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 AIFS

Established on Oct. 1, 2020, the Artificial Intelligence Institute for Next Generation Food Systems, or AIFS, aims to solve the world's biggest challenges to crop and food production facing our planet: ensuring a sustainable, nutritious, efficient and safe food supply while mitigating the impacts of climate change.

About farm-ng

Based in Watsonville, farm-ng is building general purpose off-road robotics hardware and software products. The company's mission is to transform the food system by democratizing access for the smallest farmer to cutting-edge robotics technology.

About F3 Innovate

Headquartered in California's Central Valley, F3 Innovate is the U.S. epicenter for climate-smart agrifood tech. With proximity to over 13,650 farms and 5 million acres of farmland, we collaborate with top research institutions to advance industry research and development. Supported by federal and state funding, F3 Innovate is geared to shape the future of sustainable food production worldwide.