LPU students build ‘Flying Farmer’

Jaswant Singh Gandam
India Post News Service

PHAGWARA: Students of Lovely Professional University (LPU) Phagwara 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.
In all 45 students and five 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 labor costs and a shortage of labor, 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 overuse of pesticides.
Secondly, human weed detection is inefficient and prone to error, leading to lower produce. 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 produce quantity.
LPU Chancellor 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.”
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.

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