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EXPO 2015 Drones in agriculture: applications and outlook Salar Bybordi Luca Reggiani PhD, DEIB -
EXPO 2015 Drones in agriculture: applications and outlook Salar Bybordi Luca Reggiani PhD, DEIB -
EXPO 2015
EXPO 2015
Drones in agriculture: applications and outlook
Drones in agriculture:
applications and outlook
Salar Bybordi Luca Reggiani PhD, DEIB - Politecnico di Milano, salar.bybordi@polimi.it PhD, Researcher, DEIB -
Salar Bybordi
Luca Reggiani
PhD, DEIB - Politecnico di Milano,
salar.bybordi@polimi.it
PhD, Researcher, DEIB - Politecnico di Milano
luca.reggiani@polimi.it
Outline
Outline
Outline Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Applications UAVs for agriculture Limitations Future development Conclusions E X P O

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Applications

UAVs for agriculture

Limitations Future development Conclusions

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones , can be unpiloted aerial

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, can be unpiloted aerial vehicles or remotely piloted aircrafts.

Rotary wing

vehicles or remotely piloted aircrafts . Rotary wing [*] Easier to pilot, agile maneuvering Vertical take-off

[*]

Easier to pilot, agile maneuvering Vertical take-off and landing

Fixed wing

agile maneuvering Vertical take-off and landing Fixed wing [o] More efficient aerodynamics longer flights, higher

[o]

More efficient aerodynamics longer flights, higher speed Large space for take-off and landing

[*]

"Parrot AR.Drone 2.0", N. Halftermeyer – Wikimedia Commons

[o]

"InView Unmanned Aircraft" by Fasicle, http://www.barnardmicrosystems.com/ - Wikimedia Commons

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAVs are knowing a huge, increasing interest. The worldwide market of drones for

UAVs are knowing a huge, increasing interest.

The worldwide market of drones for civilian use:

$609 million in 2014 … forecast to reach $4.8 billion in 2021

Civilian sector is about 5% of the global market but the growth rate is higher.

Compound annual growth rate: CAGR = 19% The defense sector has a growth rate = 5%

Applications
Applications
Applications Civilian applications : filmmaking, search operations, inspecting and surveying, delivering supplies,

Civilian applications:

Applications Civilian applications : filmmaking, search operations, inspecting and surveying, delivering supplies,

filmmaking, search operations, inspecting and surveying, delivering supplies, monitoring and data acquisition

In the following fields:

monitoring and data acquisition In the following fields : Emergency services Security Environmental protection
monitoring and data acquisition In the following fields : Emergency services Security Environmental protection
monitoring and data acquisition In the following fields : Emergency services Security Environmental protection
monitoring and data acquisition In the following fields : Emergency services Security Environmental protection
monitoring and data acquisition In the following fields : Emergency services Security Environmental protection
monitoring and data acquisition In the following fields : Emergency services Security Environmental protection

Emergency services Security Environmental protection Agriculture Engineering and architecture Media Business

UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture Precision agriculture Data acquisition Remote sensing Integration with sensor networks Monitoring
Precision agriculture Data acquisition Remote sensing Integration with sensor networks Monitoring (fires, fields,
Precision agriculture
Data acquisition
Remote sensing
Integration with sensor networks
Monitoring (fires, fields, animals …)
Chemical and biological treatments
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture Precision agriculture: advantages Optimization of the treatments only where and when necessary …
Precision agriculture: advantages Optimization of the treatments only where and when necessary … fertilizers cut
Precision agriculture: advantages
Optimization of the treatments
only where and when necessary … fertilizers cut down till to 20 – 40 %
Reduction and prevention of waste
water consumption … in some cases till to almost 90 %
Reduction of labor and material costs
Reduction of pollution
Small UAVs are electrical machines.
Reduction of the risks
Automatic and continuous analysis of the processes and field status.
Prevention.
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture Remote sensing Remote sensing regards the acquisition of information about an object or

Remote sensing

Remote sensing regards the acquisition of information about an object or surface area by means
Remote sensing regards the acquisition of information about an object
or surface area by means of propagated signals (e.g. electro magnetic
waves as optical or microwave signals), typically emitted and/or received
by aerial vehicles (e.g. satellites, aircrafts, UAVs).

Main limitations of satellites and aircrafts:

UAVs). Main limitations of satellites and aircrafts: expensive need expertise weather dependent resolution

expensive need expertise weather dependent resolution availability of multi-temporal data

UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture UAV low altitude remote sensing: main technologies Visible-band, near-infrared, multi-spectral,

UAV low altitude remote sensing: main technologies

Visible-band, near-infrared, multi-spectral, hyperspectral cameras

Plant and soil analysis Height, growth, health, vegetation indexes. Irrigation, property, moisture, erosion Specific
Plant and soil analysis
Height, growth, health, vegetation indexes.
Irrigation, property, moisture, erosion
Specific chemical components

Thermal imaging

Plant and soil analysis Irrigation, maturity, temperature
Plant and soil analysis
Irrigation, maturity, temperature

Laser scanners

Plant and soil analysis Height, growth, topographical maps
Plant and soil analysis
Height, growth, topographical maps
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture UAV low altitude remote sensing: main technologies Data can be acquired in 2D

UAV low altitude remote sensing: main technologies

Data can be acquired in 2D / 3D and as a function of time …
Data can be acquired in 2D / 3D and as a function of time …
can be acquired in 2D / 3D and as a function of time … Multi-temporal analysis

Multi-temporal analysis:

a drone can repeat the survey periodically (even every few hours) in order to appreciate the variations of the field status.

Opportunity of a very advanced management and organization of work, irrigation, fertilization and necessary treatments.

UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture UAV low altitude remote sensing: main outputs plants Vegetation indices Plant growth, counting,

UAV low altitude remote sensing: main outputs

plants Vegetation indices Plant growth, counting, diseases identification Impact of chemical or biological treatments
plants
Vegetation indices
Plant growth, counting, diseases identification
Impact of chemical or biological treatments
soil
Temperature and moisture
Water issues and irrigation systems
Ground erosion and modifications, topography
Acquisition of data for insurance claims (e.g. after
storms)

Of course drones usage changes with the seasons …

UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture Remote sensing: examples Plant height and growth can be derived by The estimated

Remote sensing: examples

Plant height and growth can be derived by

The estimated height is affected by errors around few cm.

These systems are applied to corn, wheat, rice fields.

Laser Scanning 3D image analysis Microwave radars.

Laser Scanning 3D image analysis Microwave radars . ["Plodozmian" by Les ł aw Zimny - Wikimedia

["Plodozmian" by Lesław Zimny - Wikimedia Commons]

UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture Remote sensing: examples Moisture estimation Thermal cameras Visible and near-infrared reflectance

Remote sensing: examples

Moisture estimation Thermal cameras Visible and near-infrared reflectance Microwave sensors Multi-spectral images

reflectance Microwave sensors Multi-spectral images ["Irrigation1" by Paulkondratuk3194 - Wikimedia

["Irrigation1" by Paulkondratuk3194 - Wikimedia Commons]

UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture Remote sensing: examples NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) estimation: Spectral

Remote sensing: examples

NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) estimation:

Spectral reflectance measurements acquired in the visible (red) and near-infrared regions

Other properties can be derived from NDVI: biomass, chlorophyll concentration of leaves, plant productivity, …

concentration of leaves, plant productivity, … ["SUAS_StardustII_Ndvi_sml" by Idetec uav -

["SUAS_StardustII_Ndvi_sml" by Idetec uav - Wikimedia Commons]

UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture
UAVs for agriculture Integration with sensor networks UAVs operations can be controlled by means of feedbacks

Integration with sensor networks

UAVs operations can be controlled by means of feedbacks (wireless signals) from a sensors network deployed on the ground.

signals) from a sensors network deployed on the ground . For example : the areas covered

For example:

the areas covered by treatments or irrigation can be controlled by ground sensors in presence of wind or in absence of precise flight plans.

Limitations
Limitations
Limitations Drone usage is weather dependant (in particular wind, rain) National regulations Italy – possible till

Drone usage is weather dependant (in particular wind, rain)

National regulations

Italy – possible till to 25 kg France – possible till 150 kg US – new rules in 2015

ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) is preparing rules for 2018.

According to EASA, (European Aviation Safety Agency), «open» use could be for flights within 500 meters and maximum altitude = 150 m.

Future development
Future development
Future development Technological steps … Increase of UAVs autonomy: automatic piloting and operations Automatic

Technological steps …

Increase of UAVs autonomy: automatic piloting and operations Automatic analysis for real-time decisions Increase of
Increase of UAVs autonomy: automatic piloting and
operations
Automatic analysis for real-time decisions
Increase of precision in remote sensing
Advanced integration with sensor networks and robots on
the ground
Conclusions
Conclusions
Conclusions Today UAVs are a reality in many fields of agriculture. However precision agriculture is about
Today UAVs are a reality in many fields of agriculture. However precision agriculture is about
Today UAVs are a reality in many fields of agriculture.
However precision agriculture is about to know a further
progress and UAVs will play a crucial role.
Important savings (20% - 90%) in terms of water, chemical
treatments and labor are expected.
Flight regulations are an issue but UAVs, for most
agriculture applications, have low weight and fly at low
altitudes over uninhabited and private areas …
Bibliography
Bibliography
Bibliography [1] C. Zhang, J. M. Kovacs, ”The application o f small unmanned aerial systems for

[1] C. Zhang, J. M. Kovacs, ”The application of small unmanned aerial systems for precision agriculture: a review”, Precision Agriculture, Springer, 2012.

[2] MIT Technology Review, ”Agricultural Drones. Relatively cheap drones with advanced

sensors and imaging capabilities are giving farmers new ways to increase yields and reduce crop damage”, http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/526491/agricultural-drones/,

2015.

[3] I. Colomina, P. Molina, ”Unmanned aerial s ystems for photogrammetry and remote sensing:

a review”, ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, June 2014.

[4] D. Anthony, S. Elbaum, A. Lorenz, C. Detweiler, “On Crop Height Estimation with UAVs”, 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems.

[5] J. Primicerio, S. F. Di Gennaro, E. Fiorillo, L . Genesio, E. Lugato, A. Matese, F. P. Vaccari, “A flexible unmanned aerial vehicle for precision agriculture”, Precision Agriculture, Springer, 2012.

[6] L. Hassan-Esfahani, A. Torres-Rua, A. M. Ticlavilca, A. Jensen, M. McKee, “Topsoil Moisture Estimation for Precision Agriculture Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Multispectral Imagery”, 2014 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 2014.

[7] F. G. Costa, J. Ueyama, T. Braun, G. Pessin, F. S. Osorio, P. A. Vargas, “The Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Wireless Sensor Network in Agriculture Applications”, 2012 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 2012.