HOW IS DRONE TECHNOLOGY BEING UTILISED FOR CROP PROTECTION?

HOW IS DRONE TECHNOLOGY BEING UTILISED FOR CROP PROTECTION?

Subscribe for Updates

Imagine yourself without the internet today. Do you think the world would progress so much without technology? Right from the moment we wake, our lives are surrounded by technology. It has made our lives more convenient and easy. Technological research has surged tremendously over the past few years in every aspect of the professional field. One such technology is called the Drones. Today, we are going to understand what drones are and their specific application in agriculture.

About Drone Technology

Drones are remotely controlled using specific and high-tech software that works in conjunction with the GPS and other sensor systems. They are usually called UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) because of no humans on board. UAVs were initially associated exclusively with military operations, such as surveillance and targeted attacks. Today, drones are used in various research fields to get accurate data regarding various parameters. Their features vary depending on their applications. Drones are available in numerous designs and sizes.

Applications of Drone Technology

Apart from military operations, drones are widely used in:
  • Videography
    Drones are used to record high-definition videos of vast landscapes, wedding venues, parties, travel, and more.
  • Forests and Wildlife
    Drones are used in the analysis of wildlife data and manage human-wildlife conflicts.
  • Urban Development
    In urban areas, drones are used to survey the city, lands, project monitoring, and quality assessments. They are also used to improve the urban planning system.
  • Healthcare
    The recent COVID-19 outbreak saw the use of drone technology to deliver medical supplies and city surveillance during the lockdown implementation. It ensured quick delivery of the necessities and kept tabs on those who broke the lockdown regulations.
  • Agriculture

    Over recent years, drone technology is highly used in the agricultural sector to monitor crop quality, soil assessment, terrain survey, resource availability, and utilization. 


    Additionally, drones are widely used in Homeland Security to monitor real-time crimes, mining surveys, traffic management, disaster management, sea and oceanic research, and polar research. There are strict Government rules and regulations for flying drones in certain areas.

Drone Technology in Agriculture

The agricultural industry is vast and one of the fastest growing industries in India. It should not surprise you that drone technology is booming in the agricultural sector over recent years! Stringent rules are in place to normalize drone usage in agriculture. Indian Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, released SOPs for drone usage in agriculture. The experts believe that UAVs have the potential to change the face of Indian Agriculture by ensuring food security. The drones can collect precise information, thus enabling better decision-making concerning the agronomic situation. Studies have also estimated that the global drone market in the agricultural sector would grow at 36% CAGR and reach $5.7 billion by 2025-2026.

The agricultural drone is designed to suit the farming environment. Drones in agriculture can:

 

  • Capture high-resolution images and videos of a farm area.
  • Can view all the data in real-time. 
  • The raw data is processed in the Cloud and translated into useful information using various algorithms.
  • Graphical representation of field information concerning soil quality, land size, crop health, precipitation, etc.
The drone technology can help farmers to react more quickly to potential threats of locusts, pests, molds, or other animals. The data will also provide accurate stats on the number of plants, crop height and density, water requirements, treatment efficacy, and more.

The overall crop health depends on various environmental conditions. Drones can assist in:

 

  • Crop Scouting or Monitoring Crop Health
    Agricultural drones are equipped with Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI); special imaging equipment. The colour differences recorded indicate the overall crop health. For instance, the colours of healthy leaves will differ from that of dry and dead leaves. They also monitor the overall growth of the crops during the harvest season and differentiate between the crop growth stages. 
  • Monitoring Soil Conditions
    Soil is a crucial element for plant growth and moisture and water retention. Drones can map the entire farm area, including elevations and other irregularities on the land. Some drones can also monitor soil nitrogen levels, using advanced sensors. Drones can provide color differentiation between wet and dry soil, enabling farmers to plan farming and irrigation accurately.
  • Spray Treatments
    The most challenging aspect of agriculture or farming is the protection of crops from infestations. Manual spray treatment with insecticides or pesticides can be hazardous to the applicator and daunting. Drone sprayers can easily navigate the hard-to-reach field areas and high elevations. The drone sprayers need more testing and research to understand the spray drift.
  • Security Operations
    Drones are used to secure the field perimeters that have sensitive crops and research studies in motion. Drones can monitor the fencing instead of hiring more security guards. They can also monitor disturbances, activities, threats, etc., in the areas.

The Future of Drone Technology in Agriculture

Drone technology is here to stay and expand with more futuristic designs. 

  • Drone Pollination
    Imagine a robot bee going around pollinating crops! Small, insect-shaped drones are being designed and tested to pollinate plants without damaging them. They are also planning to develop autonomous drones that can self-assess crop health without operators’ instructions.
  • Drone AI
    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is surging like never before. Drone technology with integrated Machine Learning (ML) and AI is being developed to effectively monitor large monocultural fields. More research is required for AI drone systems to recognize common crops and their growth patterns.
  • Drone Irrigation
    With the increasing drought conditions, vital irrigation solutions are a must. Research in Australia is creating drone irrigation systems in a way to reduce excess water wastage. The drone sensors can capture moisture and water levels efficiently. 

Drone technology is widely used in the agricultural sector to monitor crop health, soil parameters, water levels, and weather conditions. Drones can monitor different terrains where human reach is difficult. The technology is still young and will grow enormously in the coming years with vigorous research, development, and testing.

Let's discuss tailor made AI solutions for your business