Drone technology has gotten most of the recognition in the industry because of its diversity and considered the future for the agrarian community. The military initially used them. However, other sectors quickly embraced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) when they learned about its widespread applications.
How can drones support Indian agriculture? Drones don’t merely enhance overall performance but also encourage farmers to solve other assorted barriers and receive plenty of benefits through precision agriculture. With the market for agricultural drones reaching a whopping $1.3 billion, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) fill the gap of human error and inefficiency by traditional farming methods. The purpose of adopting drone technology is to exclude any guesswork or ambiguity and instead focus on accurate and reliable information.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari asserted that use of drones in the farm sector can generate about 50 lakh jobs in the vast rural segment in one year alone.
Gadkari said he has discussed with his two cabinet colleagues the need to draft a policy on using the drone technology in the farm sector.
He was addressing farmers and others present at the closing ceremony of ‘Agrovision‘ exhibition in Nagpur. The Lok Sabha MP from Nagpur is the chief patron of Agrovision, an annual summit on agriculture.Union MSME minister Narayan Rane visited the exhibition on Monday, while Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar had attended the inaugural function of the four-day event on December 24.
Gadkari, talking about various opportunities in the agriculture sector, said, “I discussed with Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Union MSME minister Narayan Rane (the need) to work on preparing a policy on (use of) drones in the farm sector.”
“Drone is related with agro and MSME, and drones alone can generate about 50 lakh jobs in the rural sector in one year. Besides, it will benefit farmers too,” he maintained.
The minister, citing his own example of deploying drones in his farm, stressed on cutting down on mechanised spraying of pesticides. Gadkari said a drone, powered by lithium-ion battery, would cost around Rs 6 lakh, while the same unmanned aerial vehicle with flex engine and run on ethanol fuel, would come at much cheaper price of around Rs 1.5 lakh.
HOW DOES DRONE TECHNOLOGY WORK?
Only after complete recognition of drones characteristics can one gain in-depth knowledge about agriculture drones. Typically, drones include a navigation system, GPS, multiple sensors, high-quality cameras, programmable controllers, and tools for autonomous drones. The DJI is one such familiar drone utilized by the industry. Most farmers currently use satellite imagery as an introductory guide for farm management. Furnished with modern technology, Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can get more precise data than satellites for precision agriculture. They then process the data captured into agri-tech software to produce beneficial knowledge
Capturing data from agriculture drone takes place as in the following stages
1. Analyzing the area
This identifies the territory being tested. Therefore, the first step includes establishing a boundary, analyses of the area, and then finally, uploading the technical GPS information into the drone’s navigation system.
2. Using Autonomous Drones
Since Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are independent, they enter flight patterns into their already established system to collect required data.
3. Uploading the data
After capturing all the required data through sensors such as the multispectral sensor/RGB sensor, it is processed through numerous software for further analysis and interpretation.
After collecting the data, they format it so that farmers can understand the data with no hassle, bringing them a step closer to precision farming. 3D mapping or Photogrammetry are popular methods to display extensive data collected.
BENEFITS OF DRONE TECHNOLOGY
As innovators introduce new technologies, their commercial uses increase day by day. The government has been easing restrictions for drone usage and is supporting startups to come up with novel ideas. As drone surveys become more common, they also become more cost-effective. In agriculture, they have a plethora of advantages. Some are as follows:
- Enhanced Production – The farmer can improve production capabilities through comprehensive irrigation planning, adequate monitoring of crop health, increased knowledge about soil health, and adaptation to environmental changes.
- Effective and Adaptive Techniques – Drone usage results in regular updates to farmers about their crops and helps develop strengthened farming techniques. They can adapt to weather conditions and allocate resources without any wastage.
- Greater safety of farmers – It is safer and more convenient for farmers to use drones to spray pesticides in terrains challenging to reach, infected areas, taller crops, and power lines. It also helps farmers prevent spraying the crops, which leads to less pollution and chemicals in the soil.
- 10x faster data for quick decision-making – Drone surveys back farmers with accurate data processing that encourages them to make quick and mindful decisions without second-guessing, allowing farmers to save the time invested in crop scouting. Various sensors of the drone enable capturing and analyzing data from the entire field. The data can focus on problematic areas such as infected crops/unhealthy crops, different colored crops, moisture levels, etc. The drone can be fixed with several sensors for other crops, allowing a more accurate and diverse crop management system.
- Less wastage of resources – Agri-drones enables optimum usage of all resources such as fertilizer, water, seeds, and pesticides.
- 99% Accuracy rate – The drone survey helps farmers calculate the precise land size, segment the various crops, and indulge in soil mapping.
- Useful for Insurance claims – Farmers use the data captured through drones to claim crop insurance in case of any damages. They even calculate risks/losses associated with the land while being insured.
- Evidence for insurance companies – Agricultural insurance sectors use Agri-drones for efficient and trustworthy data. They capture the damages that have occurred for the right estimation of monetary payback to the farmers.
Conclusion: UAV’s are the future in every Industry and Indian farmers can get maximum benefit from drones but understanding the process is difficult.Even though this technology is more complex to be familiar with, it will yield its results in no time once learned.
Farmers must understand the entire process. Determination of goals, creating an equilibrium in the drone and software utilized, and being familiar with the principles of using such technology will stand as a challenge. The farmers will inevitably need comprehensive training or partnerships with third-party experts in the drone industry for the acquisition of reliable data. Drones have changed the course of obtaining data in almost every type of industry, and will only deem to become bigger and better in the coming years.