Agricultural drones for farm imaging

1. Sustainability Problem: Agriculture (including animal farming) consumes about 2750 billion cubic metres of freshwater every year (70% of global water withdrawals) and will rise to 3300 – 3400 bcm per year (80-85% of global withdrawal, an increase equal to the water consumption of China), with increase in global population to 9.6 billion by 2050.

Category: Water, Health, Energy

2. Solution:

  • Crop imaging through easy-to-use ­agricultural drones equipped with ­cameras, worth less than $1,000, identifies specific areas on a field that needs to be attended to.
  • Tractors autonomously plant seeds within a few centimeters of their target locations, and GPS-guided harvesters reap the crops with equal accuracy.
  • Close monitoring of crops could improve water use and pest management, thereby reducing overall global water consumption.

3. Organizational Stakeholders: Drone manufacturers, Farmers and Regulatory agencies

4. Next steps for deployment:

  • 3 million drones will be manufactured in 2017. Drone manufacturers have to create designs that can fit the imaging cameras.
  • Farmers need to be trained in operating drones and in accepting the new technology.
  • Regulatory agencies like Federal Aviation Agency need to ease aviation restrictions for drones, for wide deployment.

One thought on “Agricultural drones for farm imaging

  1. Farmers can use images from these drones in 3 ways to help improve their farms/crops 1) they see a view that can reveal all problems, ranging from irrigation issues to soil variation, and pest infestations 2) a view that highlights the differences between healthy and unhealthy plants, and 3) time lapse view taken from the same place every week to show changes and quickly identify variances


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