Prof earns recognition, patents for ag automation

Qin ZhangPROSSER, Wash. – Qin Zhang, director of the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems at Washington State University, is one of 13 fellows recently named to the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) for 2013.
About 2 percent of active members achieve fellow status. Fellows demonstrate unusual professional distinction with outstanding qualifications and experience in the field of agricultural engineering.
Zhang was honored for his contribution to knowledge and technology in agricultural automation and mechanization.
He leads a 10-member team at WSU’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser as it develops such technologies as mechanized fruit tree blossom thinning, spraying and harvesting and automated tractor guidance and crop health detection systems.
His research – including more than 20 projects with a budget of more than $10 million – has resulted in nine patents.
A professor in the WSU Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Zhang has created five engineering courses and initiated an international forum for precision agriculture technologies.
He has authored or coauthored more than 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, 160 papers and three books. He has participated in and led ASABE committees and conferences and received eight awards from the society.
With members in more than 100 countries, ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food and biological systems.