Drones are a tool of precision. Flying overhead, their cameras scan for targets. The agri-drone is a small-scale adaptation of the same premise. Developed by researchers at Japan's Saga University, the agri-drone scans crops for clusters of bugs, and then delivers a precision dose of pesticide to the plant-eating critters below.
The drone takes off.
And then scans the crops for insects. Once found, it flies low and sprays pesticide.
The drone also carries a bug zapper, which, at night, helps entice the bugs to approach it.
From Atlas Obscura:
The team, made up of researchers and I.T. specialists based out of Saga University in southern Japan, wanted to cut down on the use of pesticides and tap into the ever-expanding drone marketplace. The farmer-friendly robot has already completed successful test runs over soy and sweet potato fields, taking out 50 different crop eating pests including moths, midges and white-backed planthoppers, according to Rocket News 24.
Crop dusters on airplanes spray indiscriminately, covering the entire area with a mist of insecticide. If the agri-drone is successful, it could replace this indiscriminate approach with more of a targeted campaign, only finding crop-threatening clusters.
Watch a video on it below: