Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) or better known as Drones – have been in use commercially since 1980s. Today, however, practical applications for drones are expanding faster than ever in a variety of industries, thanks to robust investments and the relaxing of some regulations governing their use. Among the most promising areas is Agriculture, where drones offer the potential for resolving critical farm-level challenges.
We recently partnered with an organization specialized in drone operations and image recognition for our field applications. Following are the critical usage of aerial drones envisaged by us for agriculture in India:
Field analysis – At the stage of crop planning, bird’s eye view pictures taken by drones will help build a precise 3D-view maps with gradient and soil type. This will help farmers plan for crops that they can produce on their field.
Crop spraying – To ensure uniform, continuous and efficient spraying of crop applications, drones can be of great help. Drones can scan the ground and spray the correct amount of liquid, modulating distance from the ground and spraying in real time for even coverage. This ensures reduced input cost with higher efficiency. In fact, experts estimate that aerial spraying can be completed up to five times faster with drones than with traditional machinery.
Crop Monitoring – Vast and distant fields with low efficiency in crop monitoring is farmers’ biggest challenge in farming. Drones can hover over crop fields and take continuous pictures over complete crop cycle. Due to this, time-series animations are developed which can show the precise development of a crop and reveal production inefficiencies, enabling better crop management.
Irrigation need assessment – Because of the capabilities drones possess through hyperspectral, multispectral, or thermal sensors, they can identify which parts of a field are dry or need improvements. Additionally, once the crop is growing, drones allow the calculation of the vegetation index, which describes the relative density and health of the crop, and show the heat signature, the amount of energy or heat the crop emits.
All these interventions are going to help farmers in significantly reducing farm input cost, labor cost, crop failure risk and improve crop yield due to complete control. We are hopeful that Indian agriculture is going to revolutionize by adoption of drone technology.