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Source: Naiqian Zhang, 785-532-2910,
Photos available. Contact or 785-532-6415.
News release prepared by Beth Bohn, 785-532-6415,

Thursday, July 30, 2009


MANHATTAN -- For the third year in a row, Kansas State University has won first place in the Agricultural Robotics Student Design Competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

K-State has won the competition every year since it was started in 2007, according to Naiqian Zhang, K-State professor of biological and agricultural engineering and faculty adviser to the K-State team, the Robocat Rebels.

"It's been a tradition of the department that our students compete for a national championship," Zhang said. "We always aim high."

This year, the student teams were challenged to build robotic vehicles that navigate an artificial forest, detect existing trees, and wirelessly transmit the detection result to a display unit. The robots also had to meet certain size specifications. The competition was June 21-24 in Reno, Nev., at the society's international meeting.

In the competition, teams are judged on the total performance of their robots, including accuracy and speed in tree detection. The elegance in robot design also was judged, and each team had to make a presentation and submit a report. Among eight participating teams, K-State was the only team to receive perfect scores in all areas, Zhang said.

Members of K-State's Robocat Rebels include:

Andrew Osborn, senior in biological and agricultural engineering, Baldwin City; DeeAnn-Rose Turpin, sophomore in biological systems engineering, Leavenworth; Wei Han and Peng Li, both doctoral students in biological and agricultural engineering, and both from Manhattan; Alan Bauerly, May 2009 bachelor's graduate in agricultural technology management, Tonganoxie; and Seth Perkins, senior in biological and agricultural engineering, Wichita.