Reducing use of chemicals in farming using drones

ASETA means Adaptive Surveying and Early treatment of crops with a Team of Autonomous vehicles and this research idea starts with the intend to reduce the use of chemicals in farming.

Conventional agricultural fields are sprayed uniformly to control weeds, insects, and diseases. ASETA focuses on early, localized detection of infestation and targeted treatment with automated, small, cooperating, unmanned helicopters and ground vehicles. This will reduce energy inputs and environmental pollution because of the following reasons:

  • it allows local spraying of only the infested areas, and
  • small and lightweight vehicles have much less soil impact and fuel consumption than a heavy vehicle traversing the entire field.

ASETA brings together roboticists, agricultural engineers, and biologists to compose a team of cooperating autonomous vehicles for surveying and targeted treatment of crops. Surveillance is based on small unmanned helicopters equipped with a range of sensors, including multispectral and thermal cameras. Data collected are transmitted to a ground station, which analyses the data and triggers aerial and ground-based vehicles to start close inspection and plant treatment in specified areas.

The research effort is focused on

  • adaptive surveying through intelligent interpretation and georeferencing of sensor information, and subsequent rapid treatment of detected weeds, and
  • efficient and safe task execution and cooperation between a small number of ground-based and airborne vehicles.

ASETA includes a demonstration of the concept on a sugar beet field infested with perennial weeds that are economically high impact weeds in a number of European countries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.