Drone-assisted precision farming via disposable sensors and low cost hyperspectral imagers

Agri Eagle






1) Tausta ja tavoitteet
The agricultural industry is an essential part of our modern world, providing a large proportion of the food, fiber (for clothing) and raw materials for housing (wood) to the global population. Agriculture faces several major challenges in the future.

We address the above via a precision sensor system based on multi-functional aerial drones and novel ground level sensors:
The key functions of the drone are:
- Sensor transportation: deployment, repositioning, retrieval.
- Sensor readout (optical, RF) and data communication (gateway) to cloud service.
- Use of standard cameras and multi-wavelength imaging to survey the field and read specific
sensors. In particular, VTT’s leading-edge hyperspectral imaging technology will be leveraged
- Drone will be able to carry out all these tasks automatically with minimal supervision.

2) Toteutus
- Automated implementation of ultra-sensitive immunochemical sensors for early plant disease
- Three immunochemical approaches will be explored: (1) Disposable drone-deployed printed
paper-based realizations (very low cost and biodegradable). The readout possibilitites include
a chromogenic color change reaction detected by drone optical imaging, and electrical impedance
change reaction will be detected by wireless RF-readout from the drone (passive RFID-tag
modification), (2) On-spot analysis using active drone-retrievable electronic sensors, (3)
Drone-based automated plant and soil sampling combined with off-field sample analysis.
- Drone-movable electronic sensors for soil condition monitoring (water and nutrient levels).

3) Tuotokset
Early detection of plant diseases and pests
-timely and pin-pointed
-intelligent pesticide usage
-reduced environmental load and
human chemical exposure
-support for organic methods
-reduced crop losses
Intelligent growth condition monitoring
-optimal use of water and fertilizers
Less tractor usage
-less disturbance to soil and crop
Cost efficiency
-profitability, widespread adoption

4) Vaikuttavuus ja käytäntöön vienti
The annual global crop (grain, fruit, vegetables) value is more than $1100 billion [FAO, 2012]. The
average annual disease-induced crop losses are range from about 10% in developed countries to
15...20% in developing countries: the loss value thus counts exceeds $100 billion reflecting an
immense market size.
In Finland, 3.7 million tons of grain were produced in 2015 with value ~ 500 mEUR [Luke 2016].
Precision farming is becoming rapidly adapted by the US farmers: for example, 14 / 30 / 41 % of
pesticide / fertilizer / lime was applied using need-guided Variable Rate Technology in 2015. Dronebased
aerial imaging is expected to grow from 2% (2015) to 15...20% (2018). [Ericson and Widmar,
UPurdue, 2015].
The global market of Precision Farming Technology (Guidance Systems, Variable Rate Application,
Remote Sensing, Hardware Devices and Software & Services) estimated to reach $5 Billion by 2020
at a CAGR of 12% [Research and Markets Ltd., 2015].
The proposed solution offers significant potential to generate new Finnish Precision Farming industry
(drone technology, sensor technology, cloud services) to boost the domestic agriculture as well as
generate large-scale global export.

5) Asiakkaat

Reagena Oy (disease detection), Orion Diagnostica Oy (disease detection), SoilScout Oy,TurvaTag Oy,
PlantSteps Oy (growth environment monitoring), MosaicMill Oy (drone image processing software),
Rikola Ltd. (drone hyperspectral imager manufacturer), VideoDrone® Finland Oy (drone manufacturer),
Sharper Shape Oy (inspection drone systems ), Suonentieto Oy (farm planning software and service
provider), Walki Oy (paper-based RFID-tag massmanufacturing),. Further companies are being contacted.