Pest-detecting drone helps farmers

2018-10-17 06:02
Aerobotics CEO, James Paterson

Aerobotics CEO, James Paterson

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Farmers can now detect pests and diseases on their crops without having to step a foot onto the cultivated fields themselves.

This announcement, made at the Aerobatics Future of Farming event held in Cape Town on 11 October, was simultaneously streamlined to 11 satellite venues in South Africa, one of which is in Hartswater.

The venue in Hartswater housed 35 farmers who came to witness the launch.

Five new innovations, specifically designed with the farmer in mind, were launched at the event.

One of these, the new Aerobotics leaf-by-leaf drone scouting application, will give farmers access to artificial intelligence that can detect problems impacting their pecan nut trees quickly and accurately.

“Until now, farmers have had to take time to visit each individual tree and rely on past experience and knowledge in the field to identify pests and diseases,” Michael Malahe, Aerobotics data science manager, said.

“Now, Aeroview has the technology to do all this for the farmer.”

Once the system has automatically detected problem trees that need investigation, and a scout route has been planned using artificial intelligence, the drone scouting application sends the route to a drone.

The drone will take off and fly a custom-designed path, locating trees which have been identified as pro­blematic. The drone will then take a high resolution picture of the foliage with leaf-specific detail.

This image willcapture data at leaf-specific detail and be uploaded to the Aerobatics pest and disease database on the Aeroview scout app on the farmer’s smartphone.

At the satellite venue in Harts­water, farmer Thys Potgieter said he is very excited about using the drone to better monitor his crops, and believes it will help him to take his pecan nut farm to a new level.

trees and get notified early about potentially problematic trees. She got back to me and Thys Potgieter was at the Hartswater event. His farm is located in Hartswater and he farms pecan nuts.

The drones come with the correct flight specifications and an operating manual.The company encourages all farmers to insure their drones.

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