Convergent Research


As defined by the National Science Foundation and National Academies of Engineering, convergent research is “a deeply collaborative and cross/transdisciplinary effort that results in positive societal impact. Convergence blends multiple disciplines in engineering, sciences and social sciences in a coordinated, interdependent way and fosters robust collaborations needed for successful inquiry.”

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

Thrust 1

Thrust 1: Agricultural Sensor Systems will design and manufacture resilient, networked, intelligent sensor-robotic systems that monitor the state of plant and soil health over extended areas. Thrust 1 will address fundamental scientific questions to uncover how the complex system of abiotic and biotic variables affect crop yield and resilience, and with this knowledge design technologies and systems that will be deployed with the spatial, temporal, and compositional resolution needed to capture the state of the field. 

Thrust 2
and Energy

Thrust 2: Communication and Energy Systems will enable advanced approaches for powering IoT devices and robots in the field and for data communication from heterogeneous platforms of sensors, robots, and farming equipment. Thrust 2 will establish the knowledge and technologies specifically needed in agriculture, from powering devices and communicating from below the soil surface to deploying technologies at field scales. 

Thrust 3
Response Systems

Thrust 3: Agricultural Response Systems will create and deploy smart response systems that are driven by machine learning and decision-based models for precision agriculture. Thrust 3 will create techniques to manage uncertainty and fuse the spatially, temporally, and compositionally heterogeneous data from the field to collect not just more, but better data. The Thrust will build models, constrained by the biophysics of plants in agricultural fields, to establish a decision-Ag interface for growers to intelligently manage their fields in a cost-effective manner.


IoT4Ag ‘sense-communication-response’ technologies are evaluated in two Testbeds: Integrated Systems for Precision Farming of 1) Tree Crops and 2) Row Crops.

These testbeds in Indiana, Florida, and California are used to assess and demonstrate IoT4Ag solutions in the different agricultural environments of orchards and row crops, many of which are mainstays of the food supply chain. IoT4Ag technologies are being deployed in fields in phases from control facilities to plot and field scale university testbeds and then to our industry and agricultural partners.