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Drones for Agriculture

E-Agriculture in Action

image of Drones for Agriculture

FAO and ITU, together with partners, have been working together in addressing same of the challenges faced in agriculture through the use of sustainable ICTs. One of the latest developments is the increase in the use of small, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, for agriculture. Drones have a huge potential in agriculture in supporting evidence-based planning and in spatial data collection. Despite some inherent limitations, these tools and technologies can provide valuable data that can then be used to influence policies and decisions.

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Drones-based sensor platforms

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or unmanned aerial systems (UAS), better known as drones, in a technological context are unmanned aircrafts that can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously. They work in conjunction with GPS and others sensors mounted on them. The total addressable value of drone-powered solutions in all applicable industries is significant – more than USD 127 billion, according to a recent PwC analysis. Drones have been mostly associated with military and warfare in the past but keeping pace with technological advancements, they have found application in a plethora of disciplines. With the world population projected to reach 9 billion by 2050 and agricultural consumption expected to increase by 70 percent over the same period, agri-producers need to embrace emerging technological advancements such as UAVs. Drones in agriculture are simply a low-cost aerial camera platform, equipped with an autopilot using GPS and sensors for collecting relevant data. They can be compared to a regular point-and-shoot camera for visible images, but whereas a regular camera can provide some information about plant growth, coverage and other things, a multispectral sensor expands the utility of the technique and allows farmers to see things that cannot be seen in the visible spectrum, such as moisture content in the soil, plant health, stress levels and fruits. These could help overcome the various limitations that hinder agricultural production. PwC estimates the potential market for drone-powered solutions in agriculture at USD 32.4 billion. UAVs application in agriculture opens the gateway to access real time information on the farm. It can be used at different stages throughout the cropping cycle

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