Jalandhar: Students of Lovely Professional University (LPU) have conceptualized and designed the ‘Flying Farmer’, a drone that can be exclusively deployed in farming and field survey. The ‘Flying Farmer’ is a wireless, sensor device that can be used in mapping and survey of yields and biomass. It estimates the nutrient content of the soil to aid production growth and reduce crop damage.
Lovely Professional University students build ‘Flying Farmer’Drone technology for crop surveillance to bring precision to farming
Lovely Professional University students build ‘Flying Farmer’
Each drone can fly for 25 minutes on full charge and the entire apparatus costs approximately Rs. 10,000 - 15,000. 45 students and 5 faculty members from the Electronics, Mechanical and Agricultural Engineering department have been actively involved in developing this drone technology.
The ‘Flying Farmer’ is designed to solve two major agricultural issues faced by farmers – pesticide treatment and weed detection. With rising labour costs and shortage of labour, drone technology is hypothesized to replace human intervention in delivering pesticide treatment. Pre-programmed drones can target specific farm areas and crops to deliver pesticides, avoiding wastage and over use of pesticides. Secondly, human weed detection is inefficient and prone to error, leading to lower produce. Drones, programmed with computer vision algorithms and infrared sensors can detect the exact position and nature of weeds and transmit information to the farmer for timely action. The field trials conducted at LPU led to an improvement of 15-20% in produce quantity.
The University will not file for a patent but instead, will open source the technology so that it can be inexpensively available to any farmer, anywhere. The University leveraged an internal research grant of Rs 1.2 crore to develop the technology.
LPU School of Agriculture is among the top Agricultural Science colleges in India. It is the first Indian Private University to be granted ICAR accreditation by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. The University’s farmland is spread over 1000 acres where students from the Department of Agriculture can put their knowledge and understanding into practice.