Conference Program

Program Summary:
    3rd December 2019:
Time Activity
17:00-19:00 Reception Event UNSW, Sydney

    4th December 2019:
Time Activity Heritage Ballroom Barnet Room
08:30-09:00 Coffee on Arrival
09:00-09:10 Opening Session
09:10-10:10 Keynote Speech
10:10-10:30 Coffee Break
10:30-12:30 Technical Session 1 Plant and Pest Sensing Irrigation
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:10 Invited Talk 1
14:10-15:10 Technical Session 2 Plant and Fruit Sensing Design of Machinery
15:10-15:40 Coffee Break
15:40-17:00 Technical Session 3 Navigation and Control Plant and Crop Modelling
    5th December 2019:
Time Activity Heritage Ballroom Barnet Room
08:30-09:00 Coffee on Arrival
09:00-10:40 Technical Session 4 Mobile Robots Greenhouse Management
10:40-11:10 Coffee Break
11:10-11:50 Technical Session 5 Automation and Robotics in Agriculture Root Sensing
11:50-12:30 Invited Talk 2
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:50 Technical Session 6 Aerial Vehicles Spectroscopy
14:50-15:20 Coffee Break
15:20-17:00 Panel Discussion
    6th December 2019:
Time Activity Heritage Ballroom Barnet Room
08:30-09:00 Coffee on Arrival
09:00-10:40 Technical Session 7 Sensing and Harvesting UAV Sensing
10:40-11:10 Coffee Break
11:10-12:30 Technical Session 8 Range Sensing Modelling and Robot Supervision
12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:10 Invited Talk 3
14:10-15:10 Technical Session 9 Industry Presentations Sensing
15:10-15:30 Conclusion and Award Presentation
15:30-17:00 Committee Meeting

  • Professor Qin Zhang
  • Washington State University
  • Dr. Qin ZhangDr. Qin Zhang is the Director of the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS) and a Professor of Agricultural Automation in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University (WSU). His research interests are in the areas of agricultural cybernetics, agricultural robotics, and smart agriculture. Based on his research outcomes, he has authored/edited five books, written 10 separate book chapters, edited three conference proceedings, published over 180 peer reviewed journal articles, and been awarded 11 U.S. patents. He is currently served in the Editor-in-Chief for Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, and an Honorary Vice President of CIGR (International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering). He has also been invited to give keynote speeches at international technical conferences for 20+ times, plus numerous invited seminars and short courses at 40+ universities and research institutes worldwide. He has also given talks at more than a dozen major agricultural equipment manufacturers in the North/South America, Europe, and Asia. Dr. Qin Zhang is an ASABE Fellow.

  • Abstract
  • Agriculture is the fundamental industry that maintains supplies and improves the quality of food materials and a sustainably developed agriculture is vital to have a stable society with people's happiness. An effective and efficient agricultural production heavily replies on producer's capability to manage the production systems respect to their states, constraints, and possibilities. Cybernetics is a theory that deals with the control and communication in biological and machinery systems. This theory is used to control and predict the behavior of such systems through control theory. Norbert Wiener (1894-1964) originated the theory of cybernetics in 1948 through his acclaimed book "Cybernetics: Or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine" which laid a foundation of modern control theory. Given that agricultural systems are parts of natural and ecological systems, those systems have their own unique structure and regulatory mechanism and always bring in a substantial degree of uncertainty in system operation. As modern agriculture has been evolving into smart agriculture with advanced systematization, informatization, intelligence and automation, the need for agricultural cybernetics study emerges because there are substantial challenges on control and communication in smart agriculture production. More specifically, there are two kinds of control problems in agriculture: control of agricultural machinery and control of crop growth. Agricultural machinery can be directly controlled through mechanics and electronics for the desired operation of the machinery. However, control of crop growth is an indirect control from agricultural machinery operation and agricultural production management with environmental impact. Therefore, crop growth control is a very challenging issue. It should be a core research topic in agricultural production system control. While the study of agricultural cybernetics has yet to be systematically conducted, this presentation intents to introduce the core ideas and methods from control problems in agricultural production systems, and trying to propose a system view of agricultural production for the analysis and design of effective and efficient management strategies to control and optimize agricultural production systems. The main goal of this talk is to stimulate researchers of different disciplinaries to work collaboratively to conduct fruitful transdisciplinary agricultural cybernetics study for creating a theoretical foundation of predicting and controlling the behavior of agricultural production systems for best results.

  • Chris Lehnert, PhD
  • Robotics and Autonomous Systems, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Hiroshi Shimizu, PhD
  • Professor
  • Lab. of Agricultural Systems Engineering Division of Environmental Science & Technology Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University
  • Timo Oksanen, PhD
  • Associate Professor
  • Agri-mechatronics at Technical University of Munich and Visiting Professor at Aalto University
  • Dr. Chris Lehnert
  • Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Dr. Chris LehnertIn this presentation, Chris will discuss the potential for robotics to help transform the food industry and what it might look like in the future. In particular, he will discuss robotic harvesting of indoor crops which offers an attractive solution to reducing labour costs while enabling selective harvesting, optimising crop quality, scheduling and therefore profit. Robotic harvesting is a particularly challenging task that requires integrating multiple subsystems such as crop detection, motion planning, and dexterous grasping. Chris will briefly outline the methods developed for manipulation in agriculture and how they can also be deployed to solve similar problems for automation in other areas of the food industry such as distribution centres and broad acre farming.

  • About Dr. Chris Lehnert
  • Dr. Chris Lehnert is a lecturer within the Robotics and Autonomous Systems discipline at the Queensland University of Technology. Chris has over nine years' experience in teaching and research in robotics. His current research interests are on developing novel robotic perception, grasping and control methods for challenging problems in the real world, such as autonomous harvesting in horticulture and industrial warehouse automation. Chris received a B.Eng (Hons) in Mechatronics from The University of Queensland in 2009 and a PhD in robotics from the Queensland University of Technology in 2015 where his dissertation developed novel machine learning methods for controlling complex robotic arms. Chris is an active member of the international robotics community including as a guest editor for the International Journal of Field Robotics (JFR). Chris led a team at QUT to develop one of the world's best robotic capsicum harvesters, "Harvey", which can detect and harvest capsicums within a greenhouse demonstrated to achieve a harvesting success rate of 76.5%. In 2017, Chris helped lead a team from QUT to win the international Amazon Robotics Challenge, using a custom robot for identifying household items in clutter and picking and placing them into packing boxes. Chris is currently leading the robotics activity stream within the Future Food Systems CRC, a $150 million centre for 10 years co-funded by industry, research partners and the federal government. The CRC is focusing on regional food precincts and next generation indoor cropping, in particular looking at developing robotics and automated systems for indoor cropping.

  • Professor Hiroshi Shimizu
  • Lab. of Agricultural Systems Engineering Division of Environmental Science & Technology Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University
  • Dr. Chris LehnertThe world population is expected to increase by 2 billion over the next 30 years, from the current 7.7 billion to 9.7 billion in 2050 (United Nations Information Center, press release 19-047-J, July 02, 2019 ). As the population grows, the demand for food increases, but in agriculture, which can be said to be the foundation of food, there is concern about a decrease in the number of farmers and competition between farmland and residential areas. Aging and labor shortages are particularly rapid compared to other industries, the situation is getting worse, and threatened by stable food production and quality assurance.Under these circumstances, dramatic improvement in agricultural productivity is essential to ensure stable food production. Compared to outdoor cultivation, protected horticulture is less disturbed and the physical environment is relatively stable, and it is considered easy to introduce mechanization such as automation. Research on automation and robotization has been conducted for a long time. It is considered to be in practical use due to recent advances in AI technology. The lecture will introduce recent trends in automation and robotization in protected horticulture and plant factories.

  • About Prof. Hiroshi Shimizu
  • Dr. Hiroshi Shimizu is a Professor of Agricultural Systems Engineering, Division of Environmental Science and Technology at Kyoto University. He graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture at Kyoto University, Kyoto , Japan, and obtained an MSc and PhD degree in Agricultural Engineering at Kyoto University.His research interests are in the areas of environment control for plant, plant factory and greenhouse systems. Before join the faculty at Kyoto University, he was an Associate Professor and working on developing plant growth monitoring system using image processing at Ibaraki University. Since he joined the faculty in 2008, he has performed the research to determine the effects of temperature and light on plant growth. Most recently, his team has been determining how to minimize plant factory energy inputs from the light environment point of view, and how to add a functional value to vegetables using environmental control. He won several awards so far, in 2001, he won International Federation of Automatic Control's outstanding contribution award, and he won Japanese Society for Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Engineers and Scientists' best paper awards in 2009; in 2011 he was awarded Japanese Society for Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Engineers and Scientists' academic award, CIGR Contribution award; Society fellow of Japanese Society for Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Engineers and Scientists in 2012, Kenneth Post Award, American Society for Horticultural Science in 2013, Fellow, Japan Association of International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 2016, Special Research Achievement Award of Japanese Society for Agricultural, Biological and Environmental Engineers and Scientists in 2018.

  • Associate Prof. Timo Oksanen
  • Technical University of Munich, Germany
  • Prof. Timo OksanenIn the vision of automated agricultural production, with autonomous vehicles are considered smaller than the current tractors and combine harvests. To achieve the same operational efficiency, multiple autonomous vehicles need to be deployed on way or the other. The simplest way is to divide a field into subfields of equal size and assign identical vehicles to each of those. However, even if this works well in simple tillage operations, the approach meets challenges when the vehicles seed, plant, spread, spray or harvest something. In addition, simultaneous and sequentially dependent operations in the same field introduce even more degrees of freedom for problem formulation - like mowing, raking and baling of forage and hay. The combined system of fleet management, coverage path planning, collision avoidance and overall optimization of process is not computationally trivial in general cases, even if some shortcuts are available by heuristics. The presentation discusses about these problems.

  • About Prof. Timo Oksanen
  • Dr. Timo Oksanen received the M.Sc. (tech) degree from the Automation and Systems Department at Helsinki University of Technology in 2002. Since 2003, he has studied various aspects in the domain of automation in agriculture. His doctoral dissertation presented two new coverage path planning algorithms for agricultural field machines. Besides algorithm development interest, he has sixteen years of experience developing ISO 11783-compatible prototypes and he has participated on the standard development as well. In the autonomous tractor project, he has developed navigation and guidance system for a four wheel steered tractor, including coverage and task planning for four implements. The tractor has carried out real work. His research projects combine knowledge of automation, electronics, ICT and robotics to agricultural engineering and vice versa. His scope of research is in intelligent agricultural machines, the full stack. Currently, Dr. Oksanen is a tenured associate professor in Technical University of Munich, Germany, in the Chair of Agrimechatronics.

  • Dr. Rohan Rainbow

  • Dr. Rohan Rainbow
  • Managing Director
  • Crop Protection Australia (MC)
  • Dr. Charles Karl

  • Dr. Charles Karl
  • Chief Tchnology Leader
  • Future Transport Systems, The Australian Road Research Board
  • Dr. Robert Johnson

  • Dr. Robert Johnson
  • Managing Director
  • Vutech
  • Prof. Timo Oksanen

  • Prof. Timo Oksanen
  • Professor
  • Technical University of Munich
  • Against the backdrop of the fast approaching age of driverless cars and public transport systems, researchers working on automated agricultural machinery are looking forward to the use of driverless agricultural vehicles in agricultural fields. While the research work can to some extent be considered mature, and that automated and driverless agricultural machinery are becoming more and more prevalent at least at the level of exhibits, it is timely to have a debate about the framework within which these machinery can be put to safe and reliable use. It is abundantly clear that technological development alone is insufficient to make these machines acceptable to the authorities and society. Hence a multifaceted approach is needed to facilitate their integration into wider agricultural industry. As with all other agricultural machinery, the driverless machinery will also have to abide by regulatory requirements. The regulatory requirements will bind the stake holders involved, such as the manufacturers, the insurers and end users to name a few. To explore the opportunities and the challenges, we have put together a panel of experts with vast experience in the areas of autonomous agricultural machinery technology, road transport, agricultural machinery manufacturers and framework development as follows. We look forward to your active participation in the panel discussion.