Weeds Seen from Above – Automatic Recognition with Drone Plane

A new way to make use of a drone plane in the agricultural sector is under development. A drone plane with a build in camera will through artificial intelligence detect weeds in the field from a height of one meter. This will in several ways streamline the work on the farm and save resources.

Research and Development

Earlier this year a so-called Weedcam was introduced on the Danish Market. A camera that is able to find and register weed automatically in the field. The camera is to attach to the tractor or other machinery. The software, technique and idea behind the drone camera originate from that same research project.

At the Aarhus University Senior Researcher Rasmus Nyholm Jørgensen works – together with his technical working group – with the aim to optimize weed control, e.g. automatic registration of weed in the fields. New ways and synergies in the area of precision control of weed are being developed.

The aim is to map the weed and thereby reduce the use of Herbicides developing technique and hardware, including a camera. This means that the farmer will know exactly where in the field the weed is located and can spray exactly where the need is. This saves resources, reduce the use of Herbicides and has an overall positive effect on environment and society. Furthermore, the farmer has the possibility to follow the weed populations in his fields and thereby adjust his field plan on an objective and informed basis.

Working with the Drone

The farmer will pin point areas in the field, that need to be controlled. The drone camera works together with an app, that the farmer operates from his smartphone or tablet and thus steering the drone. It uploads photos on location. In an area of 10 acres the drone will take a picture every 45. meters in approximately 1 meter’s height.

Once sort and amount of weed are detected the data are uploaded in the field and mapping program Agrinavia FIELD and Agrinavia MAP creating a ‘weed map’.

Now the registrations of weed can be translated into an application map. This map is to use in the sprayer when treating the field. The farmer will know exactly where to spray – where the need is.