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
WSU to lead national AI research institute for agriculture
With a new $20 million federal grant, Washington State University will lead a multi-institutional research institute to develop artificial intelligence (AI) solutions to tackle some of agriculture’s biggest challenges related to labor, water, weather and climate change.
The new institute is one of 11 launched by the National Science Foundation and among two funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture in 2021. It’s called the AgAID Institute, which is short for USDA-NIFA Institute for Agricultural AI for Transforming Workforce and Decision Support.
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).
With more apples to pick than any other state—more than 2.5 million tons every year—Washington apple producers have a growing desire to put labor-saving machines to work at harvest.
Sharing new discoveries on how precise pruning could support a labor-saving mechanical harvesting technique, scientists at Washington State University have won an award for their research from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).
Some 30 years ago, he was a lad tending rice, sugarcane, goats and other crops on his family’s subsistence farm in the mid-hill region of Bhojpur, Nepal.
Last December, Manoj Karkee (pronounced Maw-nose Car-key) was among 11 U.S. and Canadian professors named 2019 pioneers in artificial intelligence and the internet by Connected World, a business and technology publication.
Karkee, 41, is an associate professor in the Biological Systems Engineering Department at Washington State University. He leads a staff of 12 in the Agricultural Automation and Robotics Laboratory at the Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser.
The team of Qin Zhang, Xin Zhang, Long He, Yaqoob Majeed, Matthew D. Whiting and Manoj Karkee have been selected to receive a 2019 ASABE Superior Paper Award.
This group will be honored at the General Session Recognition Program during the ASABE Annual International Meeting on July 8th, 2019 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.
Qin Zhang – Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Director, Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
Xin Zhang – Graduate Student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
Long He – Assistant Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Fruit Research and Extension Center, Pennsylvania State University, Biglerville, PA.
Yaqoob Majeed – Graduate Student in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
Matthew D. Whiting – Professor in the Department of Horticulture, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.
Manoj Karkee – Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems, Washington State University, Prosser, WA.