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Winners emerge from second phase of autonomous greenhouse challenge


November 17, 2021
By Greenhouse Canada

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Five winning teams were announced in the second phase of the international Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge earlier this month.

Organizers Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and Tencent announced the five winning teams of the 24-hour hackathon on Nov. 5. They were CVA, digital_cucumber, MondayLettuce, VeggieMight and Team Koala.

Similar to a complex game, the teams were tasked with growing artificial lettuce in a virtual greenhouse environment.

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“The crop sometimes reacted differently than expected in a practical situation. The teams themselves determined the operational decisions on operating screens, artificial lighting, heating, supplemental CO2 and crop spacing decisions,” says the press release. “They did this using their own AI algorithms. They were virtually growing, but they had to consider weather forecasts and could not redo the past, just like in reality. The teams were given access to a climate model and a lettuce crop growth model that were developed by researchers of WUR.”

Winning teams will move on to the final challenge which takes place starting in February 2022. They will be tasked with growing a real-life lettuce crop using artificial intelligence – a completely autonomous process without human interaction.

“Seventeen teams with more than 140 participants and 18 nationalities participated in the hackathon,” says the press release. “Many team members were physically present at the WUR location Bleiswijk during the 24-hour hackathon, while others joined online in this hybrid event.”

An international jury awarded points to the teams for their AI approach (40 per cent weighting) as well as the net profit achieved in the game to grow virtual lettuce in a virtual greenhouse (60 per cent weighting).

  • Team CVA (Crop Vision and Automation) won first place with 87 points. They came in second during the first phase of the challenge. The team comes from Korea and consists of team members from Gyenggi University of Science and Technology, Agri-Food Human Resource Development Institute Croft, Motion2AI and Universal robots.
  • Team digital_cucumber were second in the Hackathon. The team comes from Russia and has members from the Russian Agricultural Bank, HSE University, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russian State Agrarian University, Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy,  Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
  • Team MondayLettuce was also from Korea with members from Kangwon National University, Pusan National University and ioCrops.
  • Team VeggieMight had team members with different nationalities including Ukraine, coming from different companies such as Quantum, HortiPolaris, Horticompass Agri-tech Consultancy, Robolect  B.V. and students from Wageningen University and Research. They finished their task in the Hackathon the fastest.
  • Team Koala had won the wild card from the first phase of the challenge earlier this year. Their team captain is Kenneth Tran, who was part of the winning team in the first edition of the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge in 2019.

A broadcast of the winning ceremony can be found here:

Source: Wageningen University & Research (WUR)