Future of Making Things: How drones will benefit the Agricultural sector

Automation technology is now spilling out of industries such as automotive and electronics and into food and agriculture—and it couldn’t be too soon. It may be very possible in the near future that farmers may use fleets of UAVs to tackle everyday agricultural monitoring tasks, saving them time and allowing them to focus on other aspects of their business while still collecting valuable data on their crops.

“In what could be considered the upcoming robotic age, farmers can look forward to the use of drones and robotics to tend to their fields and crops. Drones equipped with infrared cameras will monitor irrigation patterns and map soil variations to detect pests and fungal infestations. These drones will be able to swoop in from the sky to perform crop-spraying at any time of day or night. Robots like the Bonirob, from Deepfield Robotics, will perform weed removal, manage plant breeding, and perform other laborious tasks with AI supported by advanced sensor vision technology and image recognition. With the burst in productivity from industrial automation in the food and agriculture industries, it may be safe to assume significant increases in yield and rate of production, with reduced costs for the manufacturer. And hopefully, this will translate to reduced prices for consumers and greater access to food for populations internationally. Say goodbye to that $250 grocery bill!”

While it may be too soon to really say goodbye to that expensive grocery bill, farmers around the country have started experimenting with using drones to maintain crops. MIT Technology Review listed six options for Agriculture Drones, including:

  1. Soil and field analysis
  2. Planting
  3. Crop Spraying
  4. Crop Monitoring
  5. Irrigation
  6. Health Assessment

We’ve begun to see drones as a pretty commonplace object these days, so what’s slowing the proliferation of drones in agri? MIT Technology Review theorizes that, “Beyond the barriers to widespread drone adoption in all industries—safety of drone operations, privacy issues, and insurance-coverage questions—the biggest agricultural concern is the type and quality of data that can be captured.”

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