Greenhouse Canada

Registration opens for first phase, 3rd International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge

April 20, 2021  By Wageningen University & Research (edited)

David Wallerstein, chief exploration officer from Chinese internet company Tencent and sponsor of the challenge, welcomes participants

Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Tencent have opened registration for the first phase of the International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge.

Experts in artificial intelligence from companies and start-ups, as well as students and researchers from universities and research institutes, are welcome to participate in the online challenge to virtually grow lettuce and judge lettuce images in different growth stages.

By organizing the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge, WUR and Tencent say they “want to connect the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and food production, create more knowledge, make this knowledge publicly available and thus contribute to the worldwide efforts of making our food systems more sustainable.”


WUR is known for its horticultural research, with emphasis on autonomous greenhouses, climate control, crop modelling, use of sensors, data, intelligence, computer vision and robotics. Tencent is a publicly traded global company and provider of internet services.

Online Challenge for AI experts

The first part of the 3rd edition of the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge takes place from June 1 to July 14 as an open online challenge, aimed at testing machine learning and computer vision skills of participants in the AI community.

In Part A – the computer vision challenge – teams must develop computer vision algorithms based on training images and use the algorithm to detect plant traits (f.i. plant diameter, height, weight and leaf area) on unseen images.

In Part B – the machine learning challenge – teams must develop machine learning algorithms to autonomously control ventilation, heating, lighting etc. in a virtual greenhouse to stimulate the growth of a virtual crop and maximize net profit.

Who can join?

The online challenge targets AI experts with skills in machine learning and computer vision. Teams must consist of a minimum of two members. The maximum number of teams admitted will be 200.

A participant can only be part of one team and subscribe once. Organizers encourage teams from different countries and continents to participate, cooperation of experts from different start-ups/companies with students and researchers from universities/research centres, as well as engagement with experts in the field of horticulture but this is not mandatory.

It is not necessary to participate in the online challenge before participating in the other phases of the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge later this year. However, it is advisable, since organizers will be scouting for talent, and the winner gets a wild card directly to the Greenhouse Challenge. There will be prizes for winning the online challenge.

  • 1st Place – $ 4,000 and A wild-card for direct participation in the Growing Challenge
  • 2nd Place – $ 3,000
  • 3rd Place – $ 1,000


Registration for the Online Challenge will be open from April 15 to May 20.

Potential participants can find more information on rules, admission requirements and registration at

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