Graduate Studies


First Advisor

Santosh K. Pitla

Second Advisor

Yeyin Shi

Third Advisor

Yufeng Ge

Date of this Version


Document Type



A thesis presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Science

Major: Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering

Under the supervision of Professor Santosh K. Pitla

Lincoln, Nebraska, December 2023


Copyright 2023, Herve Mwunguzi


Agricultural mechanization has allowed farmers to produce food on a large scale more efficiently and profitably. Consequently, agrarian automation has been widely adopted in farming activities such as planting, harvesting, fertilization, and livestock management because of their laborious work nature and the time necessary to complete them. Agricultural mechanization poses challenges, such as environmental degradation from spraying chemicals and soil compaction. One of the leading causes of soil compaction is the use of high axle load machinery; some of the proposed solutions to limit soil compaction are the use of multiple small machines to reduce pressure on the soil and finding new ways for material transfer of seeds, chemicals, and fertilizer among agricultural machinery. Conventional material refilling can lead to poor field efficiency and increased soil compaction due to multiple passes from the material refill trips to the planter or harvesting machinery. This project will explore a collaboration architecture between Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for material refilling in agricultural operations. UGV will be used as a planter with a seed tank, and UAV will be used as a tender vehicle to refill the UGV seed hopper using a system we call U2AGV-Refill. This will help address the knowledge gap in UAV and UGV collaboration in agricultural applications.

Advisor: Santosh K. Pitla