Evan Tollenaar is studying in the School of Engineering to complete his MASc in Engineering with Collaborative Specialization in Artificial Intelligence, supervised by Dr. Medhat Moussa. Evan received his BEng in Mechanical Engineering (Co-op) from the University of Guelph. His research investigates how robots with artificial intelligence can aid with monitoring and harvesting vegetables.
A growing global population and ongoing labour shortages mean that while food production is more important than ever, it is also becoming more challenging. Evan’s research addresses this problem by increasing productivity and reducing waste in greenhouses. By using intelligent robots to aid in harvesting, we can have higher quality food and less spoilage without depending on the availability of labour.
Evan grew up on a cash-crop farm in Monkton, Ontario, which is where his love of agriculture and engineering began. His research will involve intelligent robots equipped with machine vision and artificial intelligence to perform harvesting in greenhouses. These robots will be able to monitor vegetable growth and harvest them at the optimal time. In the future, Evan hopes this research can expand to other areas of agriculture to further increase global food sustainability.
Evan decided to become an Arrell Scholar after completing his undergraduate studies. He knows that the University of Guelph and Arrell Food Institute have world-class professionals he can work with and learn from. AFI’s vision for improving food systems spoke to Evan and inspired him to contribute through the scholar program.