Tomorrow’s Technology Today
The Greenhouse Drone
Automation is paving the way for increased productivity in industries worldwide. Our Greenhouse Drone is set to reinvent how greenhouse growers monitor their crops by delivering them unprecedented levels of data, autonomously. Few platforms exist which can provide the versatility, durability and speed of an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). Having recently received Dutch government funding, it’s safe to say our vision is looking more tangible than ever.
Greenhouses: Diseases, Pests & Crop Growth Conditions
To achieve high quality crops without sacrificing yield, it is imperative to understand which factors influence greenhouse crops. Greenhouses in the Netherlands can be larger than 25 hectares (that is 250,000m2 or more than 35 football pitches) there is no easy way to keep track of what is happening at crop level.
Greenhouses are enormous, and it is difficult for the grower to check the health of thousands of plants. Currently, 5 to 25% of plants go to waste because of diseases, bacteria, fungi, damage and other causes. That is why students at the InHolland College for Aeronautical Engineering in Delft, the Netherlands, are working on a drone that can fly inside greenhouses and analyse the plants. The students explain: “With the naked eye, you can only see the effects of plant diseases after three days, but by then it’s too late. Within that time frame, diseases can spread.”
Diseased plants show changes in the infrared spectrum within a few hours time. With an infrared camera, a drone will be able to check a whole greenhouse rapidly. Furthermore, drones can carry sensors that measure the climate around the plant: humidity, brightness, temperature, and CO2-levels. All data is analysed by special software. The students are using technology that was developed by NASA for satellites which observe Earth.
Written by Arno Engels, Hortipoint.
As of October 2017 the High Precision Greenhouse Farming project is underway, this RAAK SIA (Dutch government) subsidised project targets the problems faced by ADI in our challenging horticultural drone project.
Greenhouses are getting bigger. The distance between the grower and the crop increases. New technologies are being introduced to help and keep the overview. Acquiring more accurate data on crop growth and local growth conditions can provide the grower with better means to understand how and where problems in the crop are arising and, therefore, when, where and how to fix problems that threaten to hinder crop productivity. Unfortunately, current data acquisition techniques have limited spatial resolution and are labour intensive.
extract from RAAK proposal
Check out this short promo video:
And here is a video from our demonstration to the Dutch Minister for Agricultural Affairs: