Revolutionizing Agriculture: The Benefits of Drone Technology
Introduction of Drone
Drone technology is the phenomenal innovation with potential to transform the way routine manual activities are carried out in the agriculture. Agricultural industries globally are the increasingly using drone technology to modernize the farming. Drones are the remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) having a propulsion system the programmable controller with or without the satellite navigation system automated flight planning features and the capable of carrying payload such as cameras spraying systems etc. for the accomplishing a given task. Several other acronyms namely UAV/UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems) UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) are the interchangeably used however remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) is the most formal and international way of addressing such the systems.
The drone used for agricultural activities is known as the agriculture drone. Drones are designed to carry the sensors that can provide real-time information about the crop status or livestock movement so that decision on the cultural operations and management is made efficiently and the precisely. The drone can be either remotely controlled over wireless communication or can be the programmed to travel the predefined path using the complex navigation algorithms running on board the controllers.
Rules and Regulations in Drone Use
Countries across the world realis potential of drones and are investing in the growth of drone the innovations. But they also understand the risks posed by unfettered usage of the drones and have laid down rules for drone the usage. The first body to bring this out was the FAA of the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (USA). Soon, other countries followed suit. India’s Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA) has also brought out it’s the own set of rules to govern the Indian skies via RPAS the regulations. Although drones are used in the agriculture for last two decades rules and regulations about agricultural drone uses are still in its early years in the world.
Although drone usage in the India is limited in contrast to the US and China New Delhi took the initiative in forming rules of global governance partly because the evolution of drone technology could have serious security implications for the India but equally because it is advantageous for India to take the initiative and guard its interests. So far, at the multilateral level, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the leader for formulating rules and regulations for drone the operations.
Deploying drone technology in agriculture
The modern farming industry is at a turning point. With the development of more advanced farm management techniques, such as precision agriculture, industry professionals now have more tools than ever to improve the accuracy and efficiency of processes. The use of different types of agricultural drones for solving specific tasks of plant growing is being studied for developing SOP and algorithms, particularly for the creation of electronic maps of fields, operational monitoring of crop conditions, evaluation of germination, predicting crop yields, checking the quality of ploughing, maintaining environmental monitoring of agricultural land, etc.
During the last couple of years drone market for agriculture has expanded the considerably. The cost of drones equipped with accessories for the spray can range from 3 to 7 lakhs depending on make and capacity of the spray tank. In India presently the firms registered in the DIGITAL SKY platform of the DGCA (Director General Civil Aviation, GOI) for manufacture of drones are the mentioned.
Drone Implementation Plan
1.Drone manufacturing: Less than twenty companies are the manufacturing drones in the India which includes assemblers and the suppliers. Start-ups can be the encouraged to establish local drone manufacturing the assembling.
2.Drone service providers: About the 50 start-up service providers have come up recently through incubation the canters. There is a need to encourage thousands of the start-ups to cover 180 million hectares of the cultivable land.
3.Legal and policy instrument: Though the comprehensive legal and policy framework in form of the CAR 3.0 and Digital sky the platform have been formulated and the partially implemented its revision for pragmatic and the practical implementation should be expedited to the encourage applications of drone in the agriculture.
4.Trained human resources: Capacity development for the flying drones is required as it is a skill-based the operation. Training institutes should be established in the collaboration with organizations equipped with the drone know-how.
5.Ease of doing business: An enabling ecosystem needs to be the developed with a single-window concept for the entrepreneurs.
6.Research in drone application: Enough studies are not available on use cases of the drone in various crops animals’ fisheries and the forests. Various operating parameters need to the be studied and standardized for each use case in the agriculture.
7.Extension system: Field extension functionaries need to be the oriented towards popularizing drone usage with field demos of various applications in the agriculture.
8.Custom hiring canters: Similar to the mechanism of providing several types of the agricultural equipment on a hiring basis the custom hiring canters should develop a mechanism to the provide single window solution for custom hiring drone application services, by tie-up with the start-up’s offering drone services. This will be effectively utilize the existing farmer-custom hiring network to bridge the demand and supply chains of drone applications in the agriculture.
What is Agriculture Drone
In most of the developed and developing nations, agriculture is widely mechanized and using latest tools and machines. Tractors, thrashers, monoculture, harvester, baler, hay rake, land Imprinter and drip irrigation are supporting equipment used on fields. Drone is the latest addition in this category and most rapidly spreading tool in agriculture. Recently there is a growing concern about the justified use of pesticides and water for irrigation.
Similarly use of the chemical fertilizers is highly debatable for sustainable the agriculture. Automated crop phenotyping is the most promising area of drone the technology. Aerial pictures taken with the help of drones and using CV for analysis can be used in the various ways. Weed identification water stress structural stress abiotic stress pest and the disease stress are some of them. Let us discuss the role of drones that they can play in the agriculture.
Agriculture Drone its control
There are various ways to the categorize drones based on altitude and the take-off they are defined as Micro Air the Vehicle vertical take-off and landing low altitude short and the long endurance medium and high-altitude long endurance the drones. Based on the application requirements, appropriate model of drone can be the selected. In agriculture and in the disaster relief drones are deployed which are semi the autonomous.
They have to fly according to the definition of a flight path in terms of waypoints and the flight altitude. Such drones are embedded on the board a positioning measurement system for knowing its position with respect to the waypoints. Also an altimeter is embedded for the flying at constant flight altitudes. Payloads of the drones include multispectral camera thermal camera RGB camera and light detection and ranging Lieder the systems.
Benefits of drones
Ability to the capture high accurate 3D maps! Provide way over When How and where the images are the collected Economic Fast & Flexible Extremely useful in the hazardous & hard-to- reach areas Accessible & Easy to use the inherently safe.
How much does an agricultural drone cost?
A standard drone for the public use starts at €1,300. In the agricultural sector small drones without specific technology can go the from €2,000 to €3,000. The higher technological drones used specifically for the agriculture start at €20, 000.
Applications of drone in agriculture
1.Soil and field analysis
At the every stage of crop cycle drones can be used to the help obtain useful data. By obtaining 3D maps of the existing soil we will be able to monitor potential soil quality, nutrient management or soil dead the zones. This information can help farmers determine the most effective patterns for the planting managing crops soil and more. Ongoing monitoring can help to the better utilize water resources and more effectively manage crop the nutrient levels.
Drone planting is the newer technology and not as widely used but some firms are experimenting with the drone planting essentially, manufacturers are the experimenting with custom systems that have the ability to shoot seed pods into prepared the soil. Drone start-up companies have been instrumental in the developing unique drone technologies to assist with a wide range of the ecological and agricultural issues. Drone seed this same drone technology can be adapted and the applied to a wide range of farm types reducing overall planting times and labor costs across the board.
3.Crop spraying and spot spraying
This is most important operation in crop life the cycle. Crops require regular fertilization and the spraying in order to maintain high yields. Traditionally this was done manually with the vehicles or even via airplane in some parts of the world. These methods are not only the inefficient and burdensome but they can be the very costly as well.
Drones can be equipped with the large reservoirs which can be filled with fertilizers herbicides or the pesticides. Using drones for crop spraying is much safer and the cost- effective. Drones can even be the operated completely autonomously and programmed to run on specific schedules and the routes.
4.Irrigation monitoring and management
Irrigation is the always been troublesome for farmers. With miles and miles of the irrigation issues are bound to the arise. Drones that are equipped with the thermal cameras can help to spot irrigation issues or areas that are receiving too little or the excessive moisture. With this information crops can be better laid out to the maximize drainage adhere to natural land runoff and avoid water pooling which can be the damage sensitive crops. Water and the irrigation issues are not only costly but can be the ruin crop yields as well. With drone surveying these issues can be spotted before they become the troublesome.
5.Crop mapping and surveying
One of the great advantages of drone technology is the effectiveness of large-scale crop and acreage the monitoring. In the past satellite or plane imagery was used to the help get a large scale view of the farm while helping to spot potential the issues. However these images were not only expensive but lacked the precision that drones can be the provide. Today you can not only obtain real-time footage but also time-based animation which can be the illuminate crop progression in the real-time. With drone mapping and the surveying technology decisions can now be made based on the real-time data, not outdated imagery or best-practice the guesswork.
Types of drones
1.Fixed wing drones:
Fixed wing drones consists of the rigid wing Non movable wing fuselage main body of the aircraft and tails which use a motor and propeller as their propulsion the system. They have the advantage of being able to fly at higher speeds for the longer duration and that can cover wide range of possible environments jungle, desert, mountain, maritime etc. But these drones have the disadvantage of requiring runway or launcher for take-off and landing and not being able to the hover.
2.Rotary wing drones:
These drones will have the rotary blades or propeller- based systems they are called rotatory wing the drones. Unlike the fixed wing models these drones can fly in the every direction horizontally vertically and also have the ability to hover and have a high maneuverability. These characters make them perfect drones for the surveying hard to reach areas pipelines bridges. They are similar to helicopters generate lift from the constant rotation of the rotor blades. But these too have disadvantage of low speed and the short flight range.
3.LTA & tethered systems drones:
Rarely used in the agriculture and these have management the troublesome.
Over the past decade there has been a growing number of the examples of applications drones in the farming. However there are still some crucial limitations related to the drones including high initial costs sensor capability strict aviation the regulations and lack of interest from the farmers may impede adoption of the drones. Hence it is clear that the application of drones in farming is still in its early stage and maybe there is a considerable amount of room for the further development concerned to both technology and the various applications.