Drones can be used to find the presence of crop-eating bugs and then even deploy accurate pesticide applications instead of sprinkling an entire agricultural plot. They provide a fast and effective method to detect pest insects, weed and diseases in food crops before outbreaks happen. Some diseases may only show visible changes in their last stages when it is too late. Such diseases can be caught using cameras with special filters that detect these subtle changes.
Crop yield prediction is a big business around the world. Prediction of harvest volume helps all stakeholders (from producers, commodity traders, hedge fund managers to insurance companies) understand the supply side of agricultural market. Understanding worldwide crop yield is central to addressing food security challenges and reducing the impacts of climate change. This estimation process is time taking and highly error prone. Drones can help scan large areas of land to measure yield accurately, cost-effectively and scalably. Regular drone flights can also be used to help farmers measure how fast their crops are growing in remote fields.
Water & Fertilizer distress
The availability of different camera sensors allow drones to provide even more information than what the human eye can visually observe. The greater the sensors, the more is the information obtained from the acquired images. Drones mounted with multispectral cameras (like Near Infrared, Red Edge or Thermal InfraRed), which use special filters to capture reflected light from selected regions of the electromagnetic spectrum can be used detect plants/crops suffering from water or fertilizer deprivation. Stressed plants typically display a ‘spectral signature’ which can be used to train deep learning models to distinguish them from healthy plants.