A drone will look after the field (Google Translate)
Scientists of the Samara National Research University named after academician S.P. Korolyov will make a system of “smart farming” based on compact drones. The project is being implemented with a grant from the Innovation Promotion Fund.
Drones-agronomists will be equipped with an ultra-compact hyperspectrometer and will make a cloud service for collecting, storing and processing images. A hyperspectrometer is a device that captures an image of an investigated surface, and for each point of this image, it is possible to obtain a spectrum of radiation brightness in a given range of electromagnetic radiation. Artificial intelligence will analyze the “picture” received from the drone.
The drone will be able to operate on a given route or under control from ground stations, as well as in automatic mode using machine vision. According to Pavel Yakimov, Associate Professor of the Department of Supercomputers and General Informatics at Samara University, users of the system will quickly receive data on soil moisture, the level of minerals, the presence of weeds and foci of the spread of insect pests and plant diseases. This will make it possible to determine the potential for crop yields and promptly correct the situation according to the recommendations of artificial intelligence. One such device will be able to shoot up to one and a half thousand hectares of area per day.
– The scientific novelty of the development lies in the use of unique diffractive optical elements, which make it possible to significantly reduce and reduce the cost of the hyperspectrometer design, – added the scientist.
It is assumed that the cost of the Samara device will be ten times lower than its Western counterparts. “Due to the high cost of such equipment, there are now very few public hyperspectral data libraries in the world. The emergence of available devices will make it possible to form an array of data sufficient to teach neural networks to analyze and qualify such images in a qualitative manner, ”the university said in a statement. The work on the project should be completed by June 2021. Flight tests are scheduled for next spring.
Drones will collect information about soil moisture, mineral levels, weeds and plant diseases
A group of Samara students recently received a grant from the Innovation Assistance Fund under the UMNIK-Aeronet program to develop an all-Russian automatic web service for issuing permits for drone flights. It is expected to make it much easier for Russian owners of unmanned aerial vehicles to obtain flight permits from government agencies.
The technology is supposed to be tested in the regions of the Volga region. In the future, the Samara development will become part of a specialized all-Russian portal through which owners of drones throughout the country will be able to obtain flight permits.
The computer program for the online service will be equipped with special algorithms, according to which the information declared by the user about the planned flight of the drone will be checked against the database of restricted and prohibited zones. Then it will be transmitted via secure communication channels to government agencies responsible for issuing permits.
– The key parameter of our Internet service is the possibility of its independent work with regulatory authorities, – said the project manager Dmitry Pavlov.
According to him, there are no analogues of this system in the Russian patent database today. And according to the results of research work, it is planned to apply for a patent.
Since last year, Samara has been training professional civilian drone operators. Today, such knowledge is mandatory for everyone who works with drones, since new rules are in force for piloting objects weighing from 250 grams to 30 kilograms. Mandatory registration of such devices has been introduced. Every drone owner is obliged to register it and obtain a registration number.
The training of operators of quadrocopters took 36 hours – a weekly intensive. During this time, students learn to fly, and practice takes place at a training airfield in the village of Smyshlyaevka.
A separate block teaches the legal foundations of drones: students study various legal aspects of using quadcopters in a common airspace, flight organization, and the intricacies of certification. Theory is devoted to about 20 percent of the teaching hours.
Graduates of the program can independently compose a flight task, program an autonomous flight along a given route, and perform a copter flight both in the visual observation zone and outside it. They are also taught to work with the material captured by the drone, in particular, editing photos, creating orthophotomaps, digital and 3D terrain models, the basics of working in video editors to create videos and films based on flight video materials.
– Now our course is focused primarily on representatives of various government agencies and large industrial companies who increasingly trust drones to solve various production problems: from environmental monitoring and control of the state of communal infrastructure to updating cadastral plans. Today, these organizations are in dire need of qualified personnel in this completely new, in fact, specialty, – said the program manager, director of the Center for Unmanned Systems David Hovakimyan.