According to the preface of the Proceedings of the 7th Field Robot Event 2009:
It was in September 2002 when the story started: in a train back home from Budapest, where Wageningen Agrotechnology students won the vision award of the EurAgEng-Conference. That price-winning vision was about robots in agriculture. Why shouldn’t this vision become more real and why shouldn’t more students participate in such exciting activities – e.g. in a contest for small robots competing in a real field? The idea was born and preparations started immediately to invite students from all over Europe for the 1st Field Robot Event in June 2003.
The first Field Robot Event happened only a decade ago, in early June, 2003, at Wageningen University (The Netherlands). As described in the preface to the proceedings of FRE2004, it was originally
an experiment to combine the “serious” and “playful” aspects of robotics to inspire the upcoming student generation. That preface goes on to list the following four objectives:
- Employing students’ creativity to promote the development of field robots
- Promoting off-curriculum skills like communication, teamwork, time management and fundraising
- Attracting public interest for Agricultural Engineering
- Creating a platform for students and experts to exchange knowledge on field robots
Based on the positive results of that experiment, the organizers decided to make it an annual, international event.
Also held at Wageningen in 2004, with two entrants from Germany and one from the US, and in 2005, with three entrants from Germany, one from Finland and one from Japan, it moved to Stuttgart/Hohenheim (Germany) in 2006, back to Wageningen in 2007, to Hochschule Osnabrück (Germany) in 2008, back to Wageningen again in 2009, to Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany) in 2010, to Herning (Denmark), in conjunction with The National Agricultural Show, in 2011, and to Venlo (The Netherlands), hosted by Wageningen and Fontys University in 2012.
June 27th-29th, the Field Robot Event (FRE2013) will be held in Prague, Czech Republic, hosted by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, which has previously participated in the event in 2009, 2010, and 2012.