Volume XII / 2023
The University of Texas at Arlington | College of Engineering
Shouyi Wang and Wei-Jen Lee beside their drones

Fighting Fire Ants

Anyone who has walked a Texas field has likely also walked near one of its hazards: a fire ant mound. Common internet solutions to eliminate or reduce the unwanted pests call for dousing the mounds with gasoline, setting them on fire, or treating them with an environmentally unsafe product.

Associate Professor Shouyi Wang (industrial, manufacturing, and systems engineering) and Professor Wei-Jen Lee (electrical engineering) are taking a different approach: They're using artificial intelligence and unmanned aerial and ground vehicles to find fire ant mounds and deliver water-based treatments autonomously.

"We are using machine learning to study the relationship between fire ant mound size and the required quantity and frequency of water solutions to eradicate the entire colony," Dr. Wang says.