Automated drones could scare birds off agricultural fields
A Washington State University research team has developed a system for scaring birds, which they detail in a study published in the journal Computer and Electronics in Agriculture. The system is designed to have automated drones available 24 hours a day to scare pest birds, like European starlings or crows, that cost growers millions of dollars a year in lost fruit.
“Growers don’t really have a good tool they can rely on for deterring pest birds at an affordable price,” said Manoj Karkee, associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and the study’s corresponding author. “With further refinement and industry partnerships, this system could work.”
For now, the birds are scared off just by the motion and whirring noises made by drones. But Karkee said that sounds, like distress calls or predatory bird noises, could be added. Builders could even design special drones for the job.
Manoj Karkee reports that WSU’s Agricultural Automation group of the Biological Systems Engineering Department has just begun testing their newest robot. The robot is aimed to produce a more stable and efficient pollination and thinning process. The Robotic Pollinator is built with a camera that can detect flower blossoms and determine which need to be pollinated or thinned. Students are currently trying to find the right stage to pollinate the fruit flowers. This comes from trial and error.
Dr. Karkee is trying to develop a robotic solution that would have a camera that works like human eyes to take pictures and works with a “brain”, a kind of artificial intelligence model running on a computer, that detects flowers, locates them and sends the signal to the controller of the robot. This signals the robot where to start thinning the flowers. Karkee thinks the method could also replace honeybees when the robot learns to pollinate flowers.
Multi-disciplinary Grant Competition Award – First place award will receive $50,000 plus a doctoral-level research assistantship provided by the Graduate School. Second place award will receive $20,000.
First place – Manoj Karkee, associate professor of Biological Systems Engineering
Precision ag scientist Lav Khot named to Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class.
Lav Khot, associate professor and precision agriculture scientist at Washington State University, was named to the Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Awards’ Class of 2021.
Created by Fruit Growers News, the awards honor outstanding leaders and thinkers who support the fruit industry. Representing every sector, from growers and farm marketers to researchers and suppliers, awardees are chosen by a panel of industry experts and celebrated annually during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market Expo.
A WSU faculty member since 2013, Khot studies sensing and automation technologies to support fruit and berry crop production. His work helps growers better monitor and manage their crops using precision horticulture engineering technologies. These efforts help ensure optimal use of resources, such as chemicals, water, energy, and labor, as well as… to continue reading this CAHNRS News article, please press on this link.
Phenomics Big Data Management group led by Sindhuja Sankaran
Washington State University will feature the mentored research of nearly 60 undergraduates from 36 universities at three virtual symposia on Friday, July 30, Aug. 3, and Aug. 6. Each event runs from 10:30 a.m.-noon each day. The public is invited to the no-cost presentations.
“The students may come from institutions across the nation plus WSU, but they shared a common experience by working with WSU’s outstanding faculty researchers and their teams on a variety of important projects. “We look forward to hearing individual students explain the work they did and the results they found during their time at WSU.”
Sindhuja Sankaran’s lab, of the Agricultural Automation Engineering section of the Biological Systems Engineering Department, provides research experience for undergraduates on Phenomics Big Data Management. Crop phenomics is a new transdisciplinary field of research that is a critical interface between plant biology, engineering, and data sciences. Phenomics data refers to sensory data acquired from high-throughput sensing/automation equipment that are associated with crop phenotypes/traits. Crop phenotyping is a complex process as the plant phenotype results from interactions between the genetic framework, dynamically changing environment, and complex plant physiology.
Washington State University announced that professor Lav Khot will serve as interim director for AgWeatherNet.
AgWeatherNet is the system of weather stations and climate data tools that support growers across the state.
Khot, an associate professor at WSU’s Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), said the new role will build on his experience with in-field climate sensing technology, and he hopes to continue AgWeatherNet’s momentum in adopting new technology.
Abhilash Chandel is one of three graduate students to win $1,000 CAHNRS Graduate Student Leadership Award.
This award is supported by a generous donation by Mike and Kathy Hambelton.
Dean Andre-Denis G. Wright writes about Abhilash Chandel, “I am delighted that you were selected for this honor. The contributions and efforts that you make to this College are greatly appreciated by the entire CAHNRS community. You genuinely deserve to be acknowledged for the tremendous efforts you make to contribute to our success. It is a great pleasure to be able to have you as a colleague.”
Best Paper Presented by a Young Researcher – The IEEE MetroAgriFor 2020 announces the Conference Award to the research group, Rakesh Ranjan, Rajeev Sinha, Lav R. Khot, R. Troy Peters, Melba R. Salazar-Gutierrez, all from Washington State University, USA. This was awarded to the group for the paper titled “Internet of Things enabled crop physiology sensing system for abiotic crop stress management in apple and sweet cherry”.
The selection of this paper was based on technical merit, originality, potential impact on the field, clarity of the written paper, and quality of the presentation.
Developing robotic technology for crop pollination is the goal of a new project for Washington State University scientists.
Funded by a nearly $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Washington State Department of Agriculture, the team is led by Manoj Karkee, an associate professor in WSU’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS).
Spray without the sprayer – To get good coverage, researchers modified low-cost irrigation emitters to bounce a cone of spray up into the grapevine canopy as part of a trial to optimize the engineering of a solid-set spray delivery system for vineyards underway at the Washington State University’s Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser. Lead researcher Lav Khot says the system aims to provide efficient coverage with minimal drift.
Researchers across the country have been collaborating on the idea, which started in tree fruit, for close to a decade now. Matt Grieshop at Michigan State University leads the project, which is funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants.
“We are as good as airblast in terms of coverage and deposition, but with less drift,” said Rajeev Sinha, who recently finished his doctorate at Washington State University while working on the system. “The best thing is the part that’s lost to drift in airblast hits the canopy, too… continue reading the article…