INIA, with the support of the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA), developed software to support the management of pest monitoring of producers that allows releasing biological controllers in orchards and crops through drones. The software was developed within the framework of the "Sustainable pest management through the development of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for the dispersal of biological control agents" project and it allows producers to release the biological controllers with greater speed and efficiency, thus contributing to the reduction of expenses.
“When a drone is manually flown, the operator determines, through the flight console, the height, speed, and where the discharges will take place. That's not ideal, as the person flying the drone has limited visibility. That's why we want the drone to work intelligently, i.e. that it knows what it has to do even before taking off thanks to previous monitoring in which the field is divided into cells and where the presence of the plague is catalogued as high, medium, or low,” stated Luis Devotto, the executor in charge of the project.
“That information is transferred to the software we created and it creates the drone's flight plan. After that, the only thing it has to do is take off and follow the program's flight instructions. Then, automatically and unmanned, it flies to a certain height and at a determined speed to certain locations, where it releases the biological controllers that are needed in the orchard or field.”
This software will benefit large companies and small producers. Service providers will be able to cover a bigger surface in less time. Thus, they'll be able to provide their service to many small properties on the same day, including Peasant Family Farming, as the drone can easily move between neighboring or nearby properties. This will lead to a reduction in production costs and to higher efficiency, the expert said.
The application developed by INIA Chile is currently available online for free. It is compatible with iOS and Android, the two most used operating systems. In addition, the software is linked to Google Earth, so the user experience is very similar to what you see when you use that program. You can get more information and request the key here.
Based on the experiences and lessons learned in the execution of the project, the INIA was able to create a manual for the System for the biological control of pests using drones. The manual can be consulted on the website of the Observatory for Agrarian, Agrifood, and Forestry Innovation.