Al drones help beat California drought as they analyse soil and look for leaks

Daily Mail

Equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal camera, the drone crisscrossed the field, scanning it for cool, soggy patches where a gopher may have chewed through the buried drip irrigation line and caused a leak. In the drought-prone West, where every drop of water counts, California farmers are in a constant search for ways to efficiently use the increasingly scarce resource. Pictured above, Danny Royer, vice president of technology at Bowles Farming Co., prepares to pilot a drone over a tomato field near Los Banos, Calif. Farmers say leak-detecting drones can help save massive amounts of water. The video camera is paired up with a smartphone or computer tablet, which is used to control the drone.


FARMERS' EYE IN THE SKY

San Jose Mercury News - Technology

Equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal camera, the drone crisscrossed the field, scanning it for cool, soggy patches where a gopher may have chewed through the buried drip irrigation line and caused a leak. In the drought-prone West, where every drop of water counts, California farmers are in a constant search for ways to efficiently use the increasingly scarce resource. Cannon Michael is putting drone technology to work on his fields at Bowles Farming near Los Banos, 120 miles southeast of San Francisco. About 2,100 companies and individuals have federal permission to fly drones for farming, according to the drone industry's Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Federal regulators planned to relax the rules Monday on commercial drones, a move that could spur even greater use of such aircraft on farms.


FARMERS' EYE IN THE SKY

San Jose Mercury News - Technology

Equipped with a state-of-the-art thermal camera, the drone crisscrossed the field, scanning it for cool, soggy patches where a gopher may have chewed through the buried drip irrigation line and caused a leak. In the drought-prone West, where every drop of water counts, California farmers are in a constant search for ways to efficiently use the increasingly scarce resource. Cannon Michael is putting drone technology to work on his fields at Bowles Farming near Los Banos, 120 miles southeast of San Francisco. About 2,100 companies and individuals have federal permission to fly drones for farming, according to the drone industry's Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Federal regulators planned to relax the rules Monday on commercial drones, a move that could spur even greater use of such aircraft on farms.


Technologizing Agriculture

Communications of the ACM

Agricultural businesses usually have a massive number of trackable assets (plants, livestock, and machinery), often operate in wide geographic areas in which these assets are located, and are subject to operational factors often beyond their control, such as the amount of sunlight or rainfall they receive, or temperature fluctuations. As such, agriculture is ripe for the adoption of new technologies to help monitor and manage assets on a granular level, and everything from Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, robots, and drones are being used by farms around the globe. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture notes that the farms of today are avid users of agriculture technologies such as robots, temperature and moisture sensors, aerial imaging, and GPS technology, which are more precise and efficient than humans alone, and allow for safer, more efficient, and more profitable operations. One example of how technology enables new farming techniques is the use of robotic harvesting on indoor farms, which today account for a tiny fraction of the 900 million acres of traditional farmland in the U.S. However, these indoor farms are well suited to the growth of vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, and other leafy greens, are highly sustainable, generally feature an average yield per acre more than 10 times higher than that of outdoor farms, and represent a continuation of the agricultural sector's trend toward incorporating precision agriculture techniques to improve yields and become more sustainable.


Queensland amends legislation to allow drone use on farms

ZDNet

The Queensland government has announced amended legislation that now allows the state's farmers to use drones to spray their crops. Acting Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne said the changes to the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966 and the regulations that underpin it will give Queensland farmers access to the most "innovative aerial spraying technology" available. "The government is keen to give our producers all the advantages made available by advances in technology," Byrne said. "The improvements to the legislation provide Queensland producers with cost effective options for crop protection." Byrne expects the technology to be especially useful for chemical application in areas with limited access or difficult terrain, noting that where conventional equipment cannot be used, spraying from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) represents a safe and effective option.