Drones Helping Japanese Farmers with Crop Spraying
If you were to think of one primary reason for why we need and develop technology, you would come to a single point, “To make our lives easier.” This is the aim of almost every technological advancement in the vast domain of technical studies; vehicles are developed, optimized and innovated to improve our ability and quality of transport while conserving resources that are useful to us, robots are developed so as to perform the trivial as well as difficult tasks that we find difficult to take on our own, similarly, drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s) make it easier for us to carry small packages really quick and observe an area like a field or a campus in a very small amount of time, conveniently.
One major field of research considering drones is the agriculture department. Drones can observe and examine crops, decide what pesticides or medicine to use and pour that medicine with precise and accurate results that farmers could not generally achieve.
Just for this purpose, farmers and developers have been working together, integrating their understanding and knowledge of their respective fields of expertise to develop drones that can hover over fields, examining crops periodically in detail and as per expertise set by the farmer or owner of the drone.
The agricultural drone designed for the job has been developed in North Japan. The expertise of farmers who work at fields that have been producing Japanese crops, especially rice crops for centuries; one such farmer, Isamu Sakakibara, states: “This is unprecedented high technology”.
The primary reason this project is being pursued in Japan is the relative gap between urban and rural areas in Japan; as young people leave crop harvesting so as to move to cities with better paying jobs. This results in more elderly people in the agricultural department and while they certainly have more than enough expertise and command over their field, they just don’t have that much physical stamina to go through entire fields examining crops and spraying relevant pesticides. “As we face a shortage of next-generation farmers, it’s our mission to come up with new ideas to raise productivity and farmers’ income through the introduction of cutting-edge technologies such as drones,” said Isamu Sakakibara, the head of JA Miyagi Tome, in a recent statement.
Some qualities of the Japanese agricultural drone are stated as:
- A single drone is able to spray a rice field with pesticide in under 15 minutes, which normally takes an hour or more.
- It is more than 4 times cheaper compared to the currently available mini helicopters used for the same purpose.
- It not only examines crops, it also suggested required necessary measures like the amount of pesticide needed; this suggestion helps farmers decide the best for for a solution.
- It can be operated with a smartphone or an iPad.
The agricultural drone called Nile – T18 was produced by Nileworks Inc and they are negotiating with Japanese authorities for simulations and tests without the need for a license.