How Do Agricultural Drones Work?
Drones are transforming agriculture into a high-tech industry. Using cameras on drones, we can access growth information in real time and build agricultural production and distribution strategies on that basis in real time.
1. Soil and crop surveys: use drones to create accurate 3D maps at an early stage. Using it, seed utilization can be improved by applying different seed root patterns depending on soil conditions. After sowing, drones are used to analyze soil conditions and manage irrigation and nitrogen application levels on farmland. The future of agriculture will start with drones.
2. Seeding: Several start-ups have increased fertilizer uptake efficiency by 75 per cent and costs by 85 per cent using drone seeding systems. Systems that distribute seed pods and plant nutrients into the soil to provide essential nutrients throughout the growing season will be widely used.
3. Spraying: using distance meter – ultrasonic or using LiDAR method – can automatically adjust the height of the drone according to the factory height and terrain to avoid collision. As a result, the drone will scan the surface and adjust the height in real time to continuously dispense the correct amount of fluid. Using this technology, spraying efficiency can be improved and pesticide use can be reduced, thereby reducing water quality and groundwater pollution. Experts have calculated that by using drones, spraying operations can be performed five times more effectively than traditional spraying methods. It also helps to reduce environmental pollution.
4. Crop monitoring: Large-scale farmland and poor crop monitoring are the biggest obstacles to agriculture. The problem of monitoring is even more pronounced when the weather forecast is difficult. This leads to increased risk management and farm management costs. In the past, satellite photography was the most advanced technology for monitoring farms. But there are drawbacks, the images have to be ordered in advance and are only available once a day, but still not accurate. On top of that, the cost of service is very low and the image resolution is poor due to weather conditions. By using drones to photograph crops on a regular basis, you can get an accurate picture of crop growth on specific dates, such as time series animation. By identifying inefficiencies in production and compensating for crop damage caused by abnormal weather conditions, this can be used to better manage crops.
5. Irrigation: Drones with hyperspectral, multi-wavelength or thermal sensors can be used to determine where the water level on the farm is low or if additional work is needed. Using a drone’s image sensor, it is possible to accurately measure the growth rate and growing conditions of the crop. By using this index as a crop growth index, scientific farm management can be achieved.
6. Crop growth assessment: Determining the growth status of the crop and identifying fungal or fungal infections in the trees is an important factor in farm management. In the camera attached to the drone, visible light and near-infrared (NIR) are simultaneously irradiated to the scanned crop, and the difference between the reflected green and NIR wavelengths is used to produce multi-wavelength spectral images. This difference can be used to track changes in crop status.
Using multi-wavelength spectral information from farms can increase productivity by responding quickly to pests. In orchards, the quality and quantity of fruit trees is improved by early treatment of fruit tree abnormalities. It’s easier to record and document when you apply for insurance due to crop growth errors.