The flight patterns of moths could help scientists to develop decision-making programs for autonomous drones to help them navigate unfamiliar environments. Researchers led from Washington State in the US analysed how moths flew through a simulated forest of light beams to create a drone navigation model to test. They found that the moths' navigation strategy is highly flexible and best suited for dense forests -- an adaptation that likely evolved in response to their habitat. By using real data from animal flight paths, the researchers said that they should be able to program drones to autonomously navigate cluttered environments. Biologist Thomas Daniel of the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues mounted eight tobacco hawk moths -- or Mantuca sexta -- on the end of metal rods that were connected to a torque meter.
Despite a growing population, now predicted to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, the agriculture industry must rise to meet demand, regardless of environmental challenges like unfavorable weather conditions and climate change. To meet the needs of that growing population, the agriculture industry will have to adopt new technologies to gain a much-needed edge. New agricultural applications in smart farming and precision farming through IoT will enable the industry to increase operational efficiency, lower costs, reduce waste, and improve the quality of their yield. So, what is smart farming? Smart farming is a capital-intensive and hi-tech system of growing food cleanly and sustainable for the masses.
In recent years, technology has become the primary focus of businesses around the world. Whether it's virtual reality for training your dog or laser hair removal for grooming your cat, the uses can seem a bit trivial at times. Thankfully, one company is making an effort to save lives when it comes to technology. And drones are at the head of the pack. EHang is the company behind dozens of drone breakthroughs.
Stretchable plant wearables and smart tags dropped by drones aim to help give farming a big data makeover. The relatively cheap technologies for mass monitoring of individual plants across large greenhouses or crop fields could get field tests in three countries starting in 2019. The idea came from researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia with expertise in flexible electronics. After talking with colleagues who were cultivating genetically engineered plants in greenhouses, they recognized the need for inexpensive sensors that could be deployed en masse and report on individual plant conditions. Their early offerings include a stretchable sensor for measuring micrometer-level changes in plant growth and a "PlantCopter" temperature and humidity sensor designed to be dropped from a drone and corkscrew its way through the air for a gradual descent.
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. And then scans the crops for insects.