A new project funded by GUDP will develop a drone to work in the field and monitor the crops with camera technology and artificial intelligence. Five Danish agricultural companies, Aalborg University and the agricultural company Klitgaard Agro are behind the project.
Five Danish agricultural companies, Aalborg University and Klitgaard Agro are behind a new drone project, where they want to make a drone that lives in the field, to monitor the crops with camera technology and artificial intelligence.
This is what Danfoil, one of the partners behind the project, writes in a press release.
The drone technology comes from the company Hecto Drone and is designed specifically for tasks with long flight time, high lifting capacity, digitization and autonomy.
– The smart thing about the drone is that it can automatically refill itself and is controlled via the mobile network. In this way, the drone can fly several days in a row without human contact. The drone is also already approved to fly and spray with plant protection on our test area, says Andreas Siggaard, director of Hecto Drone.
Scout Robotics, which since 2017 has delivered allocation cards to the farmer based on drones and satellites, also sees great opportunities in the new technology. Today, it is a relatively manual process from flight to delivery.
– We see some exciting possibilities in the project, where the goal is that data collection, analysis and allocation of spraying agents is carried out automatically, says Per Valentin Lund, founder of Scout Robotics.
Michael Bundgaard, who was named “Farmer of the Future” in 2021 and is the owner of Klitgaard Agro with 2,000 ha, sees great perspectives in the project.
The grocer group Danish Agro will be responsible for the sale of the drone both in Denmark and internationally.
– A central part of Danish Agro’s strategic focus is to offer digital solutions for agriculture, which contribute to easier, simpler and more efficient production. We look forward to participating in the development of the Cropdrone project and the possibility of implementing technologies for precision and spot spraying, as well as optimizing the use of plant protection, says Michael Stevns, who is Group Director of Danish Agro.
Cropdrone must ensure that it becomes even easier for the farmer to place the sprays where the need is. The analysis part is handled by the company The AI Lab. They have been working with artificial intelligence and weed recognition for several years.
– We see enormous potential in expanding the possibilities for autonomous weed mapping and control. With recent years of progress in camera systems and artificial intelligence, and with the developed drone we can remove some of the last manual steps in weed mapping and bring it into play in the field, says Mads Dyrmann, founder of The AI Lab.
Flying and collecting images can easily take place even if it is windy, but the treatment with plant protection must take place when the wind has died down. The drone can easily switch between specialized camera technology and spray boom within minutes. So when it’s windy, it collects images, and when the wind dies down, it intelligently treats the field with a spray boom from Danfoil. The North Jutland sprayer manufacturer must supply the sprayer part for the drone.
– Drones are a new platform to carry out plant protection from, and we can really optimize timelines and intelligent site-specific treatment. We are present in the field all the time and when the weather is right we spray, the rest of the time we prepare intelligently for the next time there is spraying weather, says Martin Dyhrman Sørensen, director of Danfoil.
Aalborg University contributes to the project with highly specialized knowledge about fluid dynamics and air flows.
The project has a total budget of nine million DKK and is supported through GUDP.