Ajay Sharda | Associate Professor
Patrick Wilburn - Carl and Mary Ice Keystone Research Scholar
Ph.D. - 2011, Auburn University
M.Tech. - 2001, Punjab Agricultural University
Farm Power and Machinery
B.Tech. - 1998, Punjab Agricultural University
Ajay Sharda received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Punjab Agricultural University, India in 1998. From 1998 to 1999, he worked for Escorts Ltd. as a service and sales engineer. Sharda returned to Punjab Agricultural University in 1999, received a master’s in farm power and machinery in 2001, and then joined the farm power and machinery department as a research assistant. In March 2003, he became an assistant professor in the department. In 2007, Sharda took a sabbatical to join the biosystems engineering doctorate program at Auburn University. He left his tenured position at Punjab Agricultural University in January 2012 and became a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems at Washington State University. In 2013, he came to K-State as an assistant professor.
Sharda’s research has focused on development, analysis and experimental validation of control systems for agricultural machinery systems with special emphasis on automation; sensor testing/development; mechatronic systems; developing automated test setups for hardware-in-the-loop simulations; high speed imaging; image analysis; unmanned vehicles, thermal infrared imaging, etc. Sharda’s research group has developed automated test systems for control systems evaluations of advanced precision planting systems. The mechatronic systems utilize HIL real-world inputs to evaluate and optimize control systems. The group is also working to evaluate and develop newer control systems for pesticide application for applications in dynamics control demand of agricultural applications. Another area where Sharda’s group is taking the lead is in the development of thermal infrared imaging systems (TIRIS) and image analysis techniques required for spatial and temporal management of irrigation water. The development of TIRIS would provide spatial and temporal plant water stress knowledge based consumptive-use needs by crop-growth stage under local weather conditions which could significantly impact water-use efficacy, food security, and water sustainability; and applications in areas such as phenotyping research, development of robust irrigation models, and animal health.
Sharda authored or co-authored one book chapter, 21 journal papers, 11 extension articles and more than 32 conference papers, which, as of 2016 have resulted in a total of 104 citations and an H-index of 6 according to Google Scholar. He has also given 24 invited talks, one keynote speech and more than 70 extension talks at various forums. He has directed one master's student and his current research group is made up of four master's students and one doctorate student. Sharda has won several awards including K-State Innovator; Engineer Member of Year of ASABE Kansas section; and 2016 Precision Ag Researcher presented by National Conservation Systems. His graduate students have won various awards including first prize at the National Student Infrared Imaging competition; Precision Ag Outstanding Graduate student; and Boyd-Scott outstanding graduate research paper awards in 2015 and 2016. He has secured grants from leading multinational industries based in the U.S. and India and federal agencies like NSF-USDA. He also holds several leadership positions in multiple professional organizations including Board member KARTA; Vice-Chair MS-60 Unmanned Aerial Systems Committee; Secretary of the MS 54 Precision Agriculture Committee; Member, SPIE-the international society for optics and photonics Conference committee and reviewer of various international journals.