An agricultural drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle used to help optimize agriculture operations, increase crop production, and monitor crop growth. Sensors and digital imaging capabilities can give farmers a richer picture of their fields. Using an agriculture drone and gathering information from it may prove useful in improving crop yields and farm efficiency.
The aerial view provided by a drone can reveal many issues such as irrigation problems, soil variation, and pest and fungal infestations. Multispectral images show a near-infrared view as well as a visual spectrum view. The combination shows the farmer the differences between healthy and unhealthy plants, a difference not always clearly visible to the human eye. Thus, these views can assist in assessing crop growth and production. Crops can be surveyed at any time using agricultural drones, allowing for rapid identification of problems.
The agriculture drones are used for drone farming, UAV crop spraying, and precision agriculture. These agricultural drones are easy to carry and can be used for different purposes. They analyze the field with high-resolution cameras that allow seeing where there is a need for water or fertilizer. Some of these drones have other accessories like a spectrometer that allows checking the level of humidity, temperature.
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How does this benefit me?
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What Are Agricultural or Farming Drones?
Agricultural drone technology has been improving in the last few years, and the benefits of drones in agriculture are becoming more apparent to farmers. Drone applications in agriculture range from mapping and surveying to cropdusting and spraying.
On the surface, 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 (more on that in a later section).
Agricultural Drone Technology
Precision agriculture refers to the way farmers manage crops to ensure efficiency of inputs such as water and fertilizer, and to maximize productivity, quality, and yield. The term also involves minimizing pests, unwanted flooding, and disease.
Drones allow farmers to constantly monitor crop and livestock conditions by air 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.
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 onboard 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.
In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the Yamaha RMAX as the first drone weighing more than 55 pounds to carry tanks of fertilizers and pesticides in order to spray crops. Drones such as this 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.
Future of Farm Drones
BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, expects spending on the overall drone market to surpass $12 billion by 2021. But what about the agricultural drone market specifically?
Global Market Insights forecasts that the agricultural drone market size will exceed $1 billion and 200,000 units shipped by 2024. GMI attributes the growth through 2024 to increasing awareness of the pros and cons of drones in agriculture among farmers.
The company also claims that technological advancements in farming techniques will push demand during the forecast period. Increased automation stemming from a lack of skilled resources and a labor crisis will also bolster agricultural drone demand. Finally, GMI expects government programs in this sector to permit operations of various sizes to help make farming processes more efficient.
FAQs on Agriculture Drones
AgriDrone is an autonomous system, in other words, the drone flies itself according to a mission that is pre-planned. The only flying you will have to do is to take off, which involves raising the throttle till the drone has lifted off. Thereafter you simply press a button on the radio to enable autonomous mode, from there on the drone flies the mission by itself and then returns to its home position and lands.
Farmers are using drones to spray pesticides more purposefully over smaller areas, as drones can spray with higher accuracy than most boom sprayers, tractors or piloted aircraft.
Quick and precise generation of multispectral images is possible, which means the drones create a graphical display that shows the health of the crops. Drones can also assess the ground and create a 3D map of the field so that farmers are more informed when planning seed-planting patterns.
An agricultural drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle used to help optimize agriculture operations, increase crop production, and monitor crop growth. Sensors and digital imaging capabilities can give farmers a richer picture of their fields
The use of drones in the agriculture industry is steadily growing as part of an effective approach to sustainable agricultural management that allows agronomists, agricultural engineers, and farmers to help streamline their operations, using robust data analytics to gain effective insights into their crops.