Precision Agricultural Drone "Robin"

About Solution

  • Classical agricultural spraying requires towing of the equipment through the fields thus damaging lot of plants.
  • Most of the pests attack crops after rain. All crops are best sprayed 24-48 hours immediately after the rain but at that time it is also very difficult or impossible to approach the fields due to mud and hard terrain. Even when possible this leaves the damage to the approach roads and fields which is hard to repair.
  • Some of the crops (vineyards, raspberries....) are mostly grown under inclined terrain. These crops cannot be sprayed using any mechanical equipment and humans need to carry the bottles on their back. It takes 10 hours to spray 1ha of the vineyard.
  • In conventional spraying there is a risk to human health due to exposure to the liquids and fumes of pesticides.
  • Due to the requirement to leave the space between plants for tractors carrying the spraying equipment, the spacing of the plants is not optimized.
  • Classical application of the pesticides is to apply maximal amount of the liquid all over the plot applying the same amount of pesticides for every plant. This is brute-force method and some individual plants receive more pesticide than they need. There is a new technology: variable rate application (VRA), where images from drones are used to determine how much of the pesticide each plan should receive. This technology is very costly if applied on the classical machinery and it costs up to 500.000 US$ to fit it on the tractor.
  • In some cases application of the pesticides from the ground is not optimal and application from above the plant roof top would allow for better spreading of the pesticide reducing the total amount of pesticides used.
  • Benefits are for: vine growers, seed manufacturers, providers of spraying service, all other farmers...

  • The unmanned flying drone with the capability to lift 50kg of liquid and to spray the plants from the air at the optimum height just above the plants.
  • As the drone is flying it is not stopped by the mud and hard terrain and can spray immediately after the rain stops. Therefore the effectivity of the spraying is maximal and the damage to the field and approach roads is zero.
  • As the drone does not have contact with the plants the damage to plants is also zero.
  • As the drone can fly at altitude, the inclination of the slopes presents no problem, and this would allow very effective spraying especially for vineyards, raspberries and similar plants. As the classical human spraying of the vineyard can take up to 10 hours per 1ha (100x100m) of the area and for drone it takes 1 to 2 hours, the savings on the labor are dramatic.
  • Risk to the human exposure of dangerous liquids is minimal, the human only have the contact to the drone while loading and filling the drone which is minimal. The health and safety risk is greatly reduced.
  • It is possible to fit a variable rate application system to the drone which would allow for targeted application of pesticides saving the cost on the pesticides but also lowering the total exposure of the plants and land to the pesticides. We are planning to do this during this project.
  • Studies show: spraying from the drones at low altitude and with the steam of air from the propellers is the most effective way to spray the crops, better than application from the ground and application from aircraft in the terms of the coverage of the plants with droplets.
  • The spraying can be fully automated to follow programmed points.



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