Research Overview


Monitoring of agricultural crops is still accomplished primarily through the expensive, labor-intensive, and time-consuming process of crop scouting, by manual sampling and documenting the state of the field. Precision agriculture involves the use of technology to acquire and analyze data from the field. However currently technologies such as sensors are limited or non-existent to spatially, temporally, and compositionally monitor the state of the field, data is coarse-grained and siloed in equipment, communications infrastructure is limited or non-existent on the farm, and interventions are reactive and over-provisioned, increasing economic and environmental costs. While the concept of precision agriculture has existed for 30 years, the exponential growth in information technology and data science and the reduction in their cost is setting the stage for the next revolution in agricultural practices.


The IoT4Ag team unites a convergence of expertise in agronomy, agricultural engineering, agricultural economics, environmental sciences, and in the science and engineering of physical and cyber systems. The Center is structured into three Thrusts that vertically integrate fundamental knowledge and technology from different disciplines and are horizontally integrated to achieve next generation engineered systems for agriculture:

  1. Agricultural Sensor Systems
  2. Communication and Energy Systems
  3. Agricultural Response Systems


IoT4Ag is creating novel, integrated systems that capture microclimates and spatially, temporally, and compositionally map heterogeneous stresses for early detection and intervention to better outcomes in agricultural crop production.

Our researchers are developing and deploying internet of things (IoT) technologies to optimize practices for every plant. These include:

  • Sensors
  • Robotics
  • Energy devices
  • Communication devices
  • Data-driven models constrained by plant physiology, soil, weather, management practices, and socio-economics.



  • Multi-mode, low-cost, distributable, environmental and soil sensor technologies 
  • Autonomous aerial and ground-based robots 
  • Energy storage and delivery technologies for field-scale operation 
  • Ag-specific communications 
  • Biophysically-constrained data-driven models for field analytics
  • Decision-Ag interface for field management and improved outcomes


Joint Ops

IoT4Ag “Joint Ops” have been established to provide a structure for integrating and evaluating systems comprising IoT4Ag technologies in our Testbeds. Currently, the Center has defined two Joint Ops:

  1. Integrated systems to optimize nitrogen (N) application in row crops
  2. Integrated systems to optimize water use in tree crops

IoT4Ag projects are continuously assessed for their field readiness level and for opportunities to contribute to the Joint Ops.