Santosh Pitla

Associate Professor, Advanced Machinery Systems

Academic Degrees

  • Ph.D., Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, University of Kentucky
  • M.S., Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, University of Kentucky
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, Osmania University, Hyderabad, India


  • Ph.D.


  • 40% Research
  • 60% Teaching

Areas of Research and Professional Interest

  • Agricultural Robotics
  • Agricultural Equipment Logistics
  • Embedded Control Applications in Machine Automation
  • Unmanned Ground and Aerial Applications in Agriculture

Teaching Interests

  • Fluid Power Hydraulics
  • Embedded Control Systems 
  • Sensors and Controls for Agri-Industries

Courses Taught

  • MSYM 416: Sensors and Controls for Agri-Industries
  • MSYM 412: Hydraulic Power Systems
  • MSYM 245: Fundamentals of Electricity
  • AGEN/BSEN 212B: Embedded Systems (mini session
  • AGEN/MSYM 492: Embedded Systems in Agriculture

Selected Publications


J. H. Posselius, C. H. Foster, S.K. Pitla, S.A. Shearer, J.D. Luck, M.P. Sama, R. S. Zandonadi,  Multi-Robot System Control Architecture. Patent Number: 9,527,211 (Issued: Dec 27th, 2016)

Book Chapters:

  1. S.K. Pitla. “Agricultural Robotics”, in Advances in Agricultural Machinery and Technologies. 2018. Editor: Guangnan Chen, CRC Press. ISBN-13: 978-1498754125 ISBN-10: 1498754120
  2. Shearer, S.A. and S.K. Pitla, “Precision Planting and Crop Thinning”, in Automation: The Future of Weed Control in Cropping Systems. Young, S.L and F.J. Pierce, Springer, 2014, pp. 99-124. ISBN: 978-94-007-7511-4 (Print) 978-94-007-7512-1 (Online)
  3. Shearer, S.A. and S.K. Pitla, “Field Production Automation,” in Agricultural Automation: Fundamentals and Practices, Zhang, Q and F.J. Pierce, CRC Press, 2013, pp. 97-124

Refereed Journal Articles

  1.  Condotta, I.C.F.S., T.M. Brown-Brandl, S.K. Pitla, J. P. Stinn, K.O.Silva-Miranda . 2020. Evaluation of low-cost depth cameras for agricultural applications. Computers Electronics Agric. 173 (2020): 105295.
  2.  Evans, J. T.,  S.K. Pitla, J. D. Luck, M.F. Kocher . 2020. Row crop grain harvester path optimization in headland patterns. Computers Electronics Agric. 171 (2020): 105295.
  3. Atefi, A., Y. Ge, S.K. Pitla, J. Schnable. 2020. Robotic Detection and Grasp of Maize and Sorghum: Stem Measurement with Contact. Robotics. 9 (58): 104854 doi:10.3390/robotics9030058
  4. Atefi, A., Y. Ge, S.K. Pitla, J. Schnable. 2019. In vivo human-like robotic phenotyping of leaf traits in maize and sorghum in greenhouse. Computers Electronics Agric. 163 (19): 104854  
  5. Rohrer, R.A, S.K.Pitla, J.D. Luck.2019. Tractor CAN bus interface tools and application development for real-timed data analysis. Computers Electronics Agric. 163(19):104847
  6. Rohrer, R.A, J.D. Luck, S.K. Pitla, R.M. Hoy. 2018. Evaluation of the Accuracy of Machine Reported CAN Data for Engine Torque and Speed. Trans. ASABE. 61(5): 1547- 1557 
  7. Lindhorst, C.M, R.M. Hoy, S.K. Pitla, M.F. Kocher. 2018. Dynamic ROPs test for Tractors over 6000 kg. Trans. ASABE. 61(1):53-62 
  8. C.J. Thompson, L. Luck, J. Keshwani, S.K. Pitla. L.K. Karr. 2018. Location on the Body of a Wearable Accelerometer Affects Accuracy of Data for Identifying Equine Gaits. Journal of Equine Veterinary Sci. 63(2018):1-7 
  9. Roeber, J.BW, S.K. Pitla, R.M. Hoy, J.D. Luck, M.F. Kocher. 2017. Development and validation of a tractor drawbar force measurement and data acquisition system (DAQ). Applied. Eng. Agric33(6): 781-789
  10. Forney, S. H., J.D. Luck, M. F. Kocher, and S.K. Pitla. 2017. Laboratory and full boom-based investigation of nozzle setup and restriction effects on flow, pressure, and spray pattern distribution. Applied. Eng. Agric33(5): 641-653
  11. Roeber, J. BW, S.K. Pitla, R. M. Hoy, J. D. Luck, M. F. Kocher. 2017. Tractor power take-off torque measurement and data acquisition system. Applied. Eng. Agric33(5): 679-686
  12. M.F. Kocher, B. J. Smith, R. M. Hoy, J. C. Woldstad, S. K. Pitla. 2017. Fuel Consumption Models For Tractor Test Reports. Trans. ASABE. 60(3): 693-701
  13. S.L. Young, S.K. Pitla, F.K. Van Evert, F.J. Pierce, J.K. Schueller. 2017. Moving integrated weed management from low level to a truly integrated and highly specific weed management system using advanced technologies. Weed Research 57(1): 1-5
  14. Pitla, S.K., J.D. Luck, J. WernerN. Lin, and S.A Shearer. 2016. In-field fuel use and load states of agricultural field machinery. Computers Electronics Agric. 121: 290 - 300. 
  15. Roeber, J. BW, S.K. Pitla, J.D. Luck, M.F. Kocher, R.M. Hoy. 2016. Tractor Hydraulic Power Data Acquisition System. Computers Electronics Agric. 127(2016):1-14 
  16. Troyer, T. A1, S.K. Pitla, E. Nutter. 2016. Inter-row Robot Navigation using 1D Ranging Sensors Inter-row Robot Navigation using 1D Ranging SensorsIFAC-PapersOnLine 49(16):463-468 
  17. Marx, S.E., Joe D. Luck, S.K. Pitla, Roger M. Hoy. 2016. Comparing various hardware/software solutions and conversion methods for Controller Area Network (CAN) bus data collectionComputers Electronics Agric. 128(2016):141-148
  18. Pitla, S.K., N. Lin, S.A. Shearer, and J.D. Luck. 2015Use of Controller Area Network (CAN) data to determine field efficiencies of agricultural machinery. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. Vol. 30(6): 829-839. 
  19. Marx, S.E., J.D. Luck, R.M. Hoy, S.K. Pitla, M.J. Darr, and E. Blankenship. 2015. Validation of machine CAN Bus J1939 fuel rate accuracy using Nebraska Tractor Test Laboratory fuel rate data. Computers Electronics Agric. 118: 179-185. 
  20. Luck, J.D., S.A. Shearer, M.P. Sama, and S.K. Pitla. 2015. Control system development and response analysis of an electronically actuated variable-orifice nozzle for agricultural pesticide applications. Trans. ASABE. 58(4): 997-1008. 
  21. Luck, J.D., S.K. Pitla, M.P. Sama, and S.A. Shearer. 2015. Flow, spray pattern and droplet spectra characteristics of an electronically actuated variable-orifice nozzle. Trans. ASABE. 58(2) 261-269.
  22. Ramarao, V., P.R. Thomison, C.K. Gabriel, M.A. Bennett, E.M. Grassbaugh, M.D. Kleinhenz, S.A. Shearer, and S.K. Pitla. 2014. Seed tape effects on corn emergence under greenhouse conditions. Crop Mgmt. 13(1).  
  23. Luck, J.D., A. Sharda, S.K. Pitla, J.P. Fulton, and S.A. Shearer. 2011. A case study concerning the effects of controller response and turning movements on application rate uniformity with a self-propelled sprayer. Transactions of the ASABE. 54(2):423-431. 
  24. Luck, J.D., S.K. Pitla, R.S. Zandonadi, M.P. Sama, and S.A. Shearer. 2010. Estimating off-rate pesticide application errors resulting from agricultural sprayer turning movements. Precision Agriculture. 12(4): 534-545. 
  25. Pitla, S.K., L.G. Wells, and S.A. Shearer. 2009Integration of an extended octagonal ring transducer and soil coulterometer for identifying soil compaction. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 25(5): 647-652.
  26. Luck, J.D., S.K. Pitla, T.G. Mueller, C.R. Dillon, S.F. Higgins, J.P. Fulton, and S.A. Shearer. 2009. Potential for pesticide and nutrient savings via map-based automatic boom section control of spray nozzles. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 70(1): 19-26