Date: Wed Jul 24, 2019
Time: 1:20 PM - 3:20 PM
Moderator: Kevin Price
Understanding the practical uses; as well as limitations, of a UAV is critical when using this technology for remote sensing. By understanding how to safely operate and collect the necessary imagery it becomes possible to make field management decisions in real-time, when the decisions can make an impact. Throughout the 2018 growing season and into 2019 Purdue University Extension Educators and Specialists flew hundreds of acres gathering valuable information not only on crops but also identified UAV operational pitfalls which can be avoided.
A common theme in today’s technology culture is the idea that swarms of UAVs will lead to a revolution in precision agriculture. The swarms will enable a mass-scale individualization of the farm field, sensing and delivering care to plants on an individual level. This model would be a transformative change in the way farming is done, however, both the technological roadmap and business economics to achieve this vision require more attention.
In this talk, we use Oklahoma State University’s work on basic and applied swarm development to establish the technological case for aerial swarms. We explore biological data and aerial demonstrations of (25-200 member) swarms to illustrate the basic principles and current limitations of swarm technology. This discussion highlights the hardware and algorithmic components necessary to enable robust, multi-functional swarms. This talk also begins to address the economic context of harvesting high and low value crops by using simplified harvesting models for comparison against traditional harvesting methods.
The use of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) in agriculture is viewed as one of the next opportunities in broad acre crop production. This presentation will focus on how we might transition the layered sensing approach used by the U.S. military to generate actionable information to guide corn and soybean crop care. Topic will include the fixed wing coverage of large acres, directed scouting using multi-rotor drones, options for within canopy sensing and the use of artificial intelligence for interpreting image and time series data.