LPU students design drone to solve farmers’ real-life problems

PHAGWARA: Students of Lovely Professional University (LPU) have conceptualised and designed the ‘Flying Farmer’, a drone that can be exclusively deployed in farming and field survey.

editorial@tribune.com

Our Correspondent

Phagwara, February 4

Students of Lovely Professional University (LPU) have conceptualised and designed the ‘Flying Farmer’, a drone that can be exclusively deployed in farming and field survey.

The ‘Flying Farmer’ is a wireless, sensor device that can be used in mapping and survey of yields and biomass. It estimates the nutrient content of the soil to aid production growth and reduce crop damage.

Each drone can fly for 25 minutes on a full charge and the entire apparatus costs approximately Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000.

A total of 45 students and five faculty members from electronics, mechanical, and agricultural Engineering department have been involved in developing the drone technology.

The sensor device has been designed to solve two major agricultural issues faced by farmers – pesticide treatment and weed detection. With rising labour costs and a shortage of labour, drone technology has hypothesised to replace human intervention in delivering pesticide treatment.

Pre-programmed drones can target specific farm areas and crops to deliver pesticides, avoiding wastage and over the use of pesticides. Secondly, human weed detection is inefficient and prone to error, leading to low produce.

Drones, programmed with computer vision algorithms and infrared sensors can detect the exact position and nature of weeds and transmit information to the farmer for timely action. The field trials conducted at LPU led to an improvement of 15 to 20% in produce quantity.

Ashok Mittal, Chancellor, LPU said, “The ‘Flying Farmer’ is yet another instance of our creative students using science and technology to develop solutions that will benefit the common man. Drone-powered technology is already revolutionising agriculture, bringing precision to farming and allowing farmers to constantly monitor crop conditions.”

“We are proud of the level of innovation and thinking that has gone into this project and will continue to empower our students to create solutions for real-life problems,” he added.

He said: “The university will not file for a patent but instead, will open source the technology so that it can be inexpensively available to any farmer, anywhere. The University leveraged an internal research grant of Rs 1.2 crore to develop the technology.”

LPU School of Agriculture is among the top agricultural science colleges in the country. It is the first Indian Private University to be granted Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) accreditation by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.

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