Saturday, June 29, 2013

FRE tasks becoming more interesting

A sure sign that the state of some art is improving is when the difficulty of the tasks that must be performed in a competition is increased. That was the case with this year's Field Robot Event in Prague, which ended earlier today.

There was the usual navigating through rows of plants, but this year's tasks included detection of weeds (simulated by maize and oil seed rape) among the sunflowers, and detection of diseased or otherwise damaged sunflower plants.

In addition to this, team members following the robots were not allowed to carry any electronics that might be used to provide them with instructions. They could manhandle the machines to help them reorient at the ends of rows, at the cost of a penalty, but aside from that the machines were required to complete each task autonomously.

In my humble opinion, these changes are a hopeful sign that the intention is to move the competition towards real world applicability.

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