Education

Lovely Professional University students build ‘Flying Farmer’

Punjab Tribune Bureau | February 04, 2019 07:51 PM

JALANDHAR: Students of Lovely Professional University (LPU) have conceptualized and designed the ‘Flying Farmer’, a drone that can be exclusively deployed in farming and field survey. The ‘Flying Farmer’ is a wireless, sensor device that can be used in mapping and survey of yields and biomass. It estimates the nutrient content of the soil to aid production growth and reduce crop damage.

Each drone can fly for 25 minutes on a full charge and the entire apparatus costs approximately Rs. 10,000 - 15,000. 45 students and 5 faculty members from the Electronics, Mechanical, and Agricultural Engineering department have been actively involved in developing this drone technology.

The ‘Flying Farmer’ is designed to solve two major agricultural issues faced by farmers – pesticide treatment and weed detection. With rising labour costs and a shortage of labour, drone technology is hypothesized to replace human intervention in delivering pesticide treatment. Pre-programmed drones can target specific farm areas and crops to deliver pesticides, avoiding wastage and over the use of pesticides. Secondly, human weed detection is inefficient and prone to error, leading to lower productivity. Drones, programmed with computer vision algorithms and infrared sensors can detect the exact position and nature of weeds and transmit information to the farmer for timely action. The field trials conducted at LPU led to an improvement of 15-20% in production quantity.

Chancellor of Lovely Professional University, Ashok Mittal said, “The ‘Flying Farmer’ is yet another instance of our creative students using science and technology to develop solutions that will benefit the common man. Drone-powered technology is already revolutionizing agriculture, bringing precision to farming and allowing farmers to constantly monitor crop conditions. We are proud of the level of innovation and thinking that has gone into this project and will continue to empower our students to create solutions for real-life problems.”

The University will not file for a patent but instead, will open source the technology so that it can be inexpensively available to any farmer, anywhere. The University leveraged an internal research grant of Rs 1.2 crore to develop the technology.

LPU School of Agriculture is among the top Agricultural Science colleges in India. It is the first Indian Private University to be granted ICAR accreditation by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India. The University’s farmland is spread over 1000 acres where students from the Department of Agriculture can put their knowledge and understanding into practice.

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