Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and drones as representatives of the family of unmanned aircraft systems (UASs) are an indispensable part of modern agriculture. But what is their value to farmers and landowners?
Agricultural experts call a few key areas in which drones and UAVs are the priceless tools. Let’s look at each of the cases of their application in more detail.
1. Aerial photography of the area and data analysis.
Let’s start with the keywords “aerial photography”. In one of the books on geodesy, a definition of aerial photography is the following “a complex of works for topographic maps, plans and digital terrain models using photographic materials areas with aircraft or from space. We believe that this definition is true. Go ahead – what is aerial photography of the area?
The easiest way to answer this question in one sentence is when you need to shoot not only taking into account the overlapping of images but also cross their overlap. After all, in a linear aerial photography, you need only longitudinal images overlap. Thus, the use of unmanned drones and aircraft make it possible to get the maximum amount of data on the field for a short period of time. And then we come to the next important part of working with these innovative technologies – namely, to analyze the data, which was obtained as a result of flying over the field. What to do with the images obtained from the heights?
Experts unanimously replied that the processing of such images – it is a “blue ocean” for future entrepreneurs because now there are several methods of data analysis of the pictures obtained with the drones and UAVs, but effective programs and applications for solving this problem is not present. We have already written about some of the points that should be considered when interpreting the images obtained as a result of aerial photography, but it is also important to take into account the basic needs that are identified in the specifications. That is what the customer wants to know: how many weeds in the field? What percentage of the plants went up? What type of soil does he have? Analysis of aerial photos without a specific purpose and the request is simply impossible: to describe all the parameters needs a lot of time, which in turn devalues these pictures. Every day there are changes in the field and on aerial photography we can see only fixed state of the field at a particular time interval.
2. A soil survey is another key focus of the use of drones.
There are four main cases where aerial photography in agriculture is highly desirable, as no other method can provide information about the soil with such precision. For example, this applies to the areas with a high complexity of the soil cover of the study area, as well as the organization of the territory of special purpose vehicles (airports, factories, landfills, etc.). Also, aerial photography is highly recommended for detailed characterization of the soil on the territory of strain-testing stations, experimental stations, forestry and nursery gardens and other experimental areas; it is important to note that the conduct of any soil-reclamation and soil erosion research in stationary and semi-stationary conditions require the construction of cards with data that can only be obtained with the help of drones.
A separate area for soil mapping is planning growing the most demanding technical and horticultural crops. These crops include tea, tobacco, essential oil, citrus fruits and other crops.
3. Protection of the crop.
Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles can protect crops and in real time to ensure the transmission of information on violations, theft, fire and other unforeseen circumstances that can happen on the field and affect the crop. Speed is a very important factor of using these technologies: fast and unmanned drones allows you to track any changes while maintaining good image quality. Stationary cameras can not boast of this feature. In addition, given the speed of their work, these automated “field guards” can fly around the greater number of crops, especially if the fields are the same owner nearby.
4. Adding Trichogramma and chemical treatment.
Trichogramma is a small insect, a butterfly, no larger than 1 mm. Trichogramma parasites in eggs of more than 100 species of insects-pests in agriculture. Trichogramma female lays its eggs in the eggs of insect pests and, therefore, completely stops the crop pests. Hence, Trichogramma is used as an organic means to control insects that destroy crops. Trichogramma is spread in a variety of ways, but one of the most effective methods is to spray Trichogramma using drones.
Regarding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to make plant protection (also quadrupeds), the benefits of their usage lie in the possibility of reducing consumption of expensive plant protection products by reducing coatings, as well as turn off the sprayer sections on the headland.
Together with the chemical treatment, there is widespread use of moto- hang-gliders and light aircraft for ultra low processing.
Although, liquid pesticide spraying niche by using drones and quadrocopters is open and very attractive for future agricultural innovators.
In these four areas drones and UAVs are an essential part of effective work. But if you have any other idea of using unmanned aircraft in agriculture – come to our microphone, let us tell you about your knowledge on the entire Internet :).