Drones will soon deter avian invaders from stealing crops

A new iteration of drones has been developed, and they could be easily deployed to scare away birds that arrive to eat crops.

Drones are everywhere. Drone tech has grown in stature in such a way that the flying machines have been adopted for use in almost every industry these days. Be it surveillance, photography, agri-businesses and any such domain, drones have made their presence essential as the world gets tech-driven.

As more uses of drones are being adopted in the agriculture terrain, the advantages have been manifold. Drones are now looking at the future, and as a team of researchers at the Washington State University has found, these flying objects would be able to take up much more jobs than hitherto foreseen.

The team of researchers has developed a new iteration of drones, wherein they could be easily deployed to scare away birds eating away crops. The scientists have developed cameras that are capable of spotting birds feeding in crop and launch drone s to drive them away. For instance, blackbirds that flock to feed on grapes in vineyards can be spotted by the new cameras, and trigger the launch of drones so as to shoo away the avian crop invaders. Once this is done, these drones are programmed to return to their place of origin and keep a watch for the next batch of invading birds.

Bird-deterrent drones require no human aid

Significant is the fact that these drones and camera can work without the aid of humans anywhere near them. The team at the Washington State University’s newly developed system has been elaborated in the Computer and Electronics in Agriculture journal.  As per a report on this, the new system developed will have automated drones that are programmed to keep a watch on crops all 24 hours of a day.

The benefits would be astounding. These drones, when deployed, will effectively aid growers as they will be able to reduce loss of crops due to the invading birds. Pest birds have always been a problem for crop growers and the advent of the new system is being anticipated by many, as it will drive away flocks of birds that rush in eat away the fruits and crops that are ripe for harvesting.

The team went about their experiments by putting in place two separate tests. One was to detect birds and the next was automatic deployment of drones. From there on, their research took wing so as to help them develop a camera system and algorithm capable of spotting birds and keeping a count of them as they flew in and out of agriculture land. Then they created simulated birds and put them to test through the deployment of small sized drones.

Agri sector to be hugely benefitted

When all experiments fell into place, automatic detection of invading birds and triggering of drones to shoo them away was achieved. Further, they also studied bird behaviour as the avian invaders often tend to fly past deterrents through clever judgement. This hassle was also overcome in such a way that the system was not bypassed by the birds.

The team of researchers are hopeful that their finding would take securing of crops to a new level. They also expect that the new drone system, through refinement and industry partnerships, could make things change in the agriculture scenario.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »

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