3rd International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge open for registration

Wageningen University & Research and Tencent are proud to announce that the first phase of the 3rd edition of the International Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge is now open for registration. AI experts of companies and start-ups, students and researchers form universities and research institutes are welcome to participate in the Online Challenge to virtually grow lettuce and judge lettuce images in different growth stages. Visit www.autonomousgreenhouses.com for more information on the rules and registration.


Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is ranked as the world’s best agricultural university and works, among other things, on autonomous greenhouses, climate control, crop modelling, the use of sensors, data, intelligence, computer vision and robotics. Tencent is the sixth largest publicly traded company worldwide. Its mission is to enhance the quality of human life through Internet services. By organizing the Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge, WUR and Tencent 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.


Connecting AI and food production

The ever-growing world population gives rise to an increased demand for fresh and healthy food. Autonomous greenhouses and remote digital farming can help feed more people with vitamin and mineral rich produces, increase food security and produce more vegetables with fewer resources such as water and energy. The potential has been shown successfully in earlier editions of the challenge.


Online Challenge for AI experts

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


In Part A - the computer vision challenge - teams will get access to a series of lettuce plants. Images are taken with a RealSense camera under defined conditions and contain images of individual lettuce plants of different varieties in different growth stages and grown in different growing conditions. Each image is connected with information on real measurements of plant traits, such as plant diameter, plant height, plant fresh weight, plant dry weight, and leaf area. Teams must develop computer vision algorithms based on training images and must use the algorithm detect the plant parameters un unseen images.


In Part B – the machine learning challenge - teams will get access to a virtual simple greenhouse climate and lettuce production model (simple simulator). The simple simulator consists of a given set of outside climate conditions, a given greenhouse type and given greenhouse actuators (ventilation, heating, lighting, screening). It needs to be provided with a series of climate setpoints (ventilation strategy, heating strategy, lighting strategy, screening strategy per timestep) as inputs. The realised inside climate and crop growth parameters (fresh weight, height, diameter) will be provided as a feedback value. Teams must develop machine learning algorithms to control the growth of the virtual crop in the virtual greenhouse in a training simulator and maximise net profit in an unseen simulator.


Who can join?

The Online Challenge is targeting AI experts with skills in machine learning and computer vision. Teams consist of a minimum of 2 members. The maximum number of teams admitted will be 200. A participant can only be part of one team and subscribe once. We encourage teams from different countries and continents to participate. We encourage cooperation of different experts from different start-ups/companies with students and researchers from universities/research centres. We encourage to engage 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 3rd Autonomous Greenhouse Challenge later this year. However, it is advisable since we scout talents, the winner gets a wild card directly for the Greenhouse Challenge and there will be a price to win for the Online Challenge.


How to register?

Registration for the Online Challenge will be open from 15 April 2021 to 20 May 0:00 GMT.

Potential participants can find more information on rules, admission requirements and registration at www.autonomousgreenhouses.com.