Lirong Xiang

Assistant Professor

Automation and Robotics Laboratory (AR Lab)

Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, NC State University

N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative

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About Me

Lirong Xiang

I am an Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University, Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department. I received my Ph.D. degree in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering from Iowa State University under the supervision of Dr. Lie Tang and my B.S. degree in Biosystems Engineering from Zhejiang University. My research mainly focuses on agricultural robotics, 2D & 3D computer vision, and machine learning. During my Ph.D. program, I have worked on developing robotic and automated systems for both indoor and in-field plant phenotyping applications.

I aim to develop smart cyber-physical systems that integrate cutting-edge robotics, machine vision, and machine learning technologies to automate labor-intensive tasks in agricultural systems. My research at NCSU will include:

I am looking for a postdoctoral researcher and fully-funded Ph.D. students. If you are interested in our research, please email me with your CV. Undergraduate and high school students interested in robotics, sensors, machine vision, or artificial intelligence are welcome to join us! Feel free to send me an email at!

Students with backgrounds in Agricultural Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or other closely related disciplines are welcome to apply. Successful candidates are expected to have relevant experiences and interests in one or more of the following areas:


Weilong He
Master Student

Weilong is pursuing a Master's degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NCSU since 2023. He obtained his B.Eng. in Electronic Information Engineering from Wuhan University of Technology (China) in 2022. Then he started working as a graduate research assistant in the Robotics and Automation Lab. His research interests include agricultural robotics, computer vision, and deep learning applied to the field of agriculture.
Xingjian Li
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Xingjian is an undergraduate majoring in Electrical Engineering at NC State University. His interests include image processing and controls for robotics. His lab projects include: Automatic Blueberry Counting and Weight Estimation using Images on Mobile Devices, Industrial Robotic Arm Simulation in Unreal Engine 5 used for Simulating Plant 3D Mesh Reconstruction Process.
Zhenghua Zhang
Ph.D. Student

Zhenghua Zhang is a PhD student in the AR lab. He received his B.E. degree from Xi'an Jiaotong University. Zhenghua has won the first prize in the National Student Mechanical Innovation Competition and has received several university scholarships. His main research interests are robot structure design, robot simulation experiment and control system design.
Ratan Immidisetti
Graduate Research Assistant

Ratan is a Master of Computer Science and Graduate Researcher in the Crop and Soil Sciences Department of NCSU. Formerly worked in the field of Artificial Intelligence at Amazon, Hewlett-Packard R&D, and Accenture. Ratan's research in the lab focuses on performing 2D/3D computer vision tasks like semantic segmentation and object detection.

Sujit Uppuluri
High School Student

Sujit is a student at Green Level High School with a passion for robotics. Through FIRST competitive robotics, founding a prosthetic design club, managing a non-profit providing coding classes, and personal exploration, he has developed skills in mechanical engineering, robotic structure design, computer-aided design, and programming. Sujit is eager to expand his robotics knowledge in the field of agricultural robotics.
Fan Wu
Visiting Scholar

Fan Wu is an undergraduate majoring in Agricultural Engineering and Statistics at Zhejiang University and a visiting scholar at NC State Univ. Her research interests include image processing, data analytics, and reinforcement learning in the field of agricultural robotics. At the AR lab, Fan is involved in research projects that primarily revolve around the application of deep learning methods for non-destructive testing of cotton seeds and similar topics.
Ryan Babcock
Master Student (Co-advised)

Ryan is a master student in industrial engineering as part of the NIOSH training program. During his four years at NC State, he served as the design lead for the steering department on the Baja SAE team, where he honed strong skills in mechanical design and manufacturing. He has put these skills to use over the past year working with Dr. Xiang to develop time- and cost-effective methods for creating robotic components for agricultural applications.

Other undergraduate research assistants: Alex Brown, Ryan Babcock, Jean Gloria Cheng, Kevin Lin, Costas Pieri, Brendon Sadlowski, Hannah Wall


Google Scholar


A legged Robot
Armiga Robot
Unreal Engine Robot Simulation
Robotic Assay for Drought
2017 - 2022

RoAD is a custom-built robotic system designed for drought response experiments in Arabidopsis plants. The system performs daily weighing, watering, and imaging tasks automatically. We developed image processing algorithms for both 2D&3D phenotypic trait extraction and leaf states classification
2019 - 2022

The Enviratron is an array of custom-designed plant growth chambers that simulate different environmental conditions coupled with precise sensor-based phenotypic measurements carried out by a robotic rover.
Robotic Leaf Angle Characterization
2019 - 2022

AngleNet is an automated image processing pipeline developed for measuring leaf angles of maize plants in the field. This pipeline detects each leaf angle as a triplet of keypoints in two-dimensional images and extracts quantitative data from reconstructed 3D models.

Holographic Imaging of an Arabidopsis Plant

The RoAD system provides detailed holographic images of a plant by sweeping the target from multiple view angles using a high-resolution laser scanner.
3D Model of Sorghum Stems

Our customized PhenoStereo cameras are capable of capturing high-quality and high sharpness stereoscopic images under field conditions. The images are used to reconstruct high-fidelity 3D models by stereo matching algorithms.
3D Model of Maize Plants

The multiview 3D point clouds were cross-registered to reconstruct the entire canopy of maize plants in the field.


[2023-9] Weilong He received the Norma L. Trolinder N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative Graduate Student Endowment Award. Congratulations!

[2023-8] Welcome Zhenghua Zhang and Fan Wu to AR Lab!

[2023-7] Our robotics team won first place in the 2023 ASABE Robotics Competition! Congratulations to Team RoboPack!

[2023-7] Weilong He won 3rd place in the AOCABFE Student Paper Competition. Congratulations!

[2023-7] Our project is funded by NC SweetPotato Commission. Cheers!

[2023-6] Biological and Agricultural Engineering Summer Workshops Empower Students for the Future!

[2023-6] Our project is funded by North Carolina Biotechnology Center. Cheers!

[2023-5] Our project is funded by Chancellor's Innovation Fund. Cheers!

[2023-4] Our project is funded by NC Ag Foundation. Cheers!

[2023-4] Our work was highlighted in the NSF newsletter!

[2023-1] Welcome Weilong He to AR Lab!

[2023-1] Our project is funded by Cotton Inc. Cheers!

[2022-8] Dr. Xiang joined NC State as an assistant professor!


Let's Get In Touch!

Feel free to reach out if you're interested in anything you see here!

Lirong Xiang, Assistant Professor
Automation and Robotics Lab
151 Weaver Labs, NC State University
Raleigh, NC 27606

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