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Unmanned Aerial Robotics (UAVs) for Agricultural Applications

Learning objectives

After completing the course

The learners will be introduced to the exciting field of Unmanned Aerial Robotics (UAVs), also known as Drones and its application in particular in agriculture. You will learn about their basic mechanics and control strategies and realize how they can be used in the field of agriculture resulting in saving in use of pesticide, fertilizer and seed. This will lead to climate protection and achieving SDG2030 Goal.

Curriculum

Background

Agricultural or Farming Drones

Agricultural drone is being used by many countries to improve the yield and at the same time reducing input costs of seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc. The technology is improving rapidly, and the benefits of drones in farming are becoming more apparent to farmers. Drone applications in agriculture range from calculating exact land sizes, soil mapping, classifying types of crops, crop dusting and spraying, pest management and also harvesting mapping.

Agricultural drones are no different than other types of drones. The application of the UAV simply changes to fit the needs of the farmer. There are, however, several drones specifically made for agricultural use.

Agricultural Drone Technology

Precision Agriculture

Precision agriculture refers to the optimal use to ensure efficiency of inputs such as water and fertilizer, maximize productivity, quality, and yield. The term also involves minimizing use of pesticides to control disease.

Drones allow farmers to constantly monitor crop and livestock conditions to quickly find problems that would not become apparent in ground-level spot checks. For example, a farmer might find through time-lapse drone photography that part of his or her crop is not being properly irrigated. With this knowledge, he can use the inputs where required only.

Mapping/Surveying

The process of using a drone to map or survey crops is a relatively straightforward one. Many newer agricultural drone models come equipped with flight planning software that allows the user to draw around the area he or she needs to cover. Then, the software makes an automated flight path and, in some cases, even prepares the camera shots.

As the drone flies, it automatically takes pictures using on-board sensors and the built-in camera, and uses GPS to determine when to take each shot. But if your drone does not have these automatic features, then one person needs to fly the drone while the other takes the photos.

Cropdusting/Spraying

Drones such are capable of spraying crops with far more precision than a traditional tractor. This helps reduce costs and potential pesticide exposure to workers who would have needed to spray those crops manually.

Course Coordinator

Prof. Dr. H. O. Srivastava

Lesson

Basics of Drone

  1. 1.    What is drone
  2. 2.    Use of drones in agriculture
  3. 3.    Requirement of Drones

What is drone

A drone is a pilotless aircraft of modern era. It can be operated from remote location. The structure of a normal drone has four-wings. That’s why it is also known as a quadcopter. It flies exactly like a bee and can remain stationary in one place.

Drones can be classified into different types. ·

  1. 1. on the basis of its flying height,
  2. 2. on the basis of its size,
  3. 3. on the basis of its weight lifting capacity,
  4. 4. on the basis of its accessibility,
  5. 5. on the basis of its aerodynamics,
  6. 6. Rotary wing (rotating wing),
  7. 7. Fixed-wing (fixed wing)

Use of drones in agriculture

  1. 1. Crops can be monitored with the help of high-resolution cameras embedded in drones.
  2. 2. Drones can be used for spraying pesticides, fertilizers and water into crops more precisely.
  3.  3.Various types of sensors in drones can detect diseases, insects and weeds occurring in crops so that we can rectify it on time.
  4.  4. Soil can be analyzed with the help of drones.

Requirement of Drones

  1.  1. To sustain environment,
  2.  2. To complete work quickly·
  3.  3. To work accurately and safely

Different Agriculture drones

1.    Honeycorp AgDrone

Honeycorp AgDrone is built with a tough Kevlar fiber composite. Real-time data is recorded by two 20.2 MP RGB and NIR cameras to map out the health of crops in detail. The AgDrone has a flight time of 55 minutes and can reach up to 66 minutes in low wind conditions.

Features:

  • Advanced Autopilot System
  • Low Battery Warning and Return to Home
  • Data Processing
  • Advanced Durability
  • Endurance
  • True NDVI and HD

Price ≈ $12,000 (INR 8,54,000)

2.    DJI Matrice 100

       DJI is customized for developers and farmers.

Features:

  • Expansion Bays
  • Dual Battery Compartments
  • Universal Powerland Communication
  • Adjustable Arm Angles
  • Enhanced GPS
  • The Long-Range Transmitter

Performance:

  • Hovering Accuracy: Vertical: 0.5 m, Horizontal: 2.5 m
  • Angular Velocity Pitch: 300°/s, Yaw: 150°/s
  • Tilt Angle: 35°
  • Speed of Ascent: 5 m/s
  • Speed of Descent: 4 m/s
  • Wind Resistance: 10 m/s
  • Speed: 22 m/s (ATTI mode, no payload, no wind)
  • Speed: 17 m/s (GPS mode, no payload, no wind)

Price ≈ $3,299 and Guidance will cost $999 (INR  3,00,000)

3.    SenseFly Ebee SQ

Because the Ebee SQ is engineered for speed, this agriculture drone can cover 500 acres in a single charge, capturing multi-spectral and visual data on large areas of farmland. The eBee SQ is specifically designed to be used along with the Parrot Sequoia, a small and lightweight multispectral drone sensor that can obtain images across four defined visible and non-visible bands—plus RGB imagery.

Features:

  • Four 1.2 MP sensors (near-infrared, red-edge, red and green) + one 16 MP RGB sensor
  • Upward-facing Sunshine Sensor for accurate images, in any light condition
  • Customize between full or half resolution multispectral data, RGB, or both.
  • eMotion Ag support for planning flight
  • Fully compatible with eBee SQ Drone kit and easy to install

Price ≈ $25,000 (17,79,370.00)

4.    PrecisionHawk Lancaster 5

Onboard sensors measure humidity, temperature, and air pressure and then can accurately react and adapt to changing weather patterns, varying payloads, sudden wind increases, or loss of visibility.

Features and Specs:

  • Wingspan: 1.5 m
  • Weight: 2.4 kg
  • Carry Weight: 9.9 kg
  • Single Electric Motor
  • 5-Channel Multi-Spectral Camera
  • Flight Time: 45 Minutes (about 1.2 square kilometers)
  • Sturdy Design for Hard Landings and Rough Weather Conditions
  • Real-Time UAV Tracking and Monitoring Software

Price ≈ $25,000 (1779370.00)

5.    DJI Agras MG-1

DJI’s Agras MG-1 is specifically designed as a drone sprayer, covering an area 4,000 – 6,000 square meters in just 10 minutes. The agricultural drone is able to regulate its output of fertilizer, pesticides, or herbicides based on its current speed, precisely regulating its spray for maximum efficiency.

Features:

  • Intelligent Memory
  • Terrain Follow
  • High-Strength and Compactable Design

Price ≈  $15,000 (1067622.00)

UAV Application Lesson-1 Quizzes

You have learnt in this lesson:

1.    What is drone?

2.    Use of drones in agriculture

3.    Requirement of Drones

Now you have to take following quiz to qualify for the next lesson. You must get 80% or more marks to qualify.

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