Telangana plans to use AI-driven drones in farming

Pilot project launched in Karimnagar using drones equipped with AI tools to identify crops, diseases, pests and use of fertilizer

By   |  Published: 1st Oct 2020  12:04 amUpdated: 1st Oct 2020  12:48 am

Karimnagar: A novel experiment to test the efficacy of drones using artificial intelligence to identify crops, pests and later spray pesticides or fertilizer, began in Karimnagar district.

A team of agricultural scientists, officials and representatives of the World Economic Forum (WEF) launched the drone, equipped with artificial intelligence tools, to shoot photos of the crops. The team would be studying the photographs taken by the drone and compare it with the field-level inputs to decide on the efficacy, officials involved in the pilot study told Telangana Today, on Wednesday

During the pilot study, efforts are being made to identify Telangana Sona (RNR 15048) and Kunaram Sannalu (KNM 118) paddy varieties. Representatives of the World Economic Forum, IT wing officials of Professor Jayashankar Telangana Agriculture University and Agriculture Department conducted the drone surveys in Nustulapur and Nallagonda of Thimmapur mandal on Tuesday. The pilot project would be extended across the State later.

The drone captured about 2,000 aerial shots of the fields covering an area of 500 acres during one sortie. The pictures captured by the drone are analysed by the artificial intelligence tools and variety of crops and diseases or pests found are identified. “This data would be cross checked with the data collected by the Agriculture Department officials while on field to establish the accuracy of the results given by the AI-driven drones,” District Agriculture Officer V Sreedhar said.

Similar surveys will also be done in Nizamabad and Wanaparthy districts. While Nizamabad has been chosen to study pests, focus would be on cotton crops in Wanaparthy.

Speaking to Telangana Today Regional Agriculture Research Station, Polasa, Assistant Director Dr Uma Reddy, said the study was a trial run and not a final official one.

The scientists are trying to study different aspects, including pros and cons of drone usage in agriculture sector. Whether it was possible to get accurate pictures of crops, varietal identification of crops, pests and spray pesticides to crops by using drones would be the other aspects of the study.

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