Basics: Drones in Agriculture

With increase in population, food security remains the main global challenging problem. For this, yield optimization has been the most important necessity, not just in increasing the yield but in its quality as well. As the solution, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or UAV are used in the agricultural applications, whose other terms are Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and Remotely Piloted Aerial System or RPAS in the legislative uses. In the general terms, however, the term drone is the most popular which can be understood as the flying aircraft without humans although interventions are necessary to operate it. The drones assists us to visualize the crops in other spectra of electromagnetic spectrum acting us the addition in our crop monitoring process.

The uses for the drones use were from the twentieth century mostly for the military purposes but, with the time, applications have increased in major domains including agriculture. Now, it is seen as the solution to revolutionize the future agriculture. The applications can be in yield predictions to make the farmers aware about the harvest, protecting the plants from weeds or diseases, for precise application of the pesticides, monitoring the nitrogen, estimating the soil nutrition and soil moisture in the field with applications ranging in multiple agriculture themes. 

Drones are the applications of the remote sensing system collecting the specific spectra of the electromagnetic spectrum. Spectral signatures, or the reflectance after the interaction of any object in the different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum differ among every body. Drones are in the other ways the captured or the smaller versions of the earth observation satellites, and similar specifications: spatial, spectral, and temporal resolution are applied. The sensors, like in the satellites, include RGB, multispectral and thermal, which functions are to be able to capture the different spectra of the electromagnetic spectra. The advantages of the drones compared to the satellites, thus are in the acquiring the data whenever we want unlike the satellites, likely to have data missing in the necessary growth conditions. 

Similarly, the components: drone platform, batteries, GPS, remote control, ground control station enables the drones to do its work. And the observable differences in the drones are the types of wings: multi-rotor drones (with number of wings, ability to hover the single area, but limited flight range) and fixed wing drones (with a plane like wings and longer flight range).

After understanding about the drones, safety and operational rules are necessary to be understood. Precautionary measures should be taken and assessing the field situations, preparations of all the tools beforehand are very important. Few terminologies should be understood to be aware about the drones.

GCP (Ground Control Points): for positional accuracy

Orthomosaic: high resolution image (2D representation of the image), Open Drone Map is used to create orthomosaic; QGIS is used after the creation of orthomosaic (vegetation indices can be calculated)

Structure from Motion (SfM): constructing 3D scenes from the 2D image

Waypoints: coordinate points, for the drones

Ground Control Stations: for more precision than remote controller, software includes- QGround Control, MAVLink

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Wikipedia Article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agricultural_drone

~posts as to be aware about the drones


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Learner, Loves/Learns agronomy, remote sensing, gis, other interests in writing poetry, learning languages, literature, learning the guitar, (+ve person)