Australia: Autonomous Drone Technology Improves Irrigation Practices
Monash University engineers are working with Australian farmers to help them improve irrigation practices, reduce water use, and maximize crop harvest by using autonomous drone technology, according to an article by Manufacturers’ Monthly.
As severe drought continues to devastate farmland and impact food supply across Australia, a Monash University research team, led by Professor Jeff Walker, has spent the past two years developing a drone-based autonomous soil moisture mapping system for irrigated paddocks.
The team has recently completed field experiments using optical mapping which can determine soil moisture levels in the near-surface.
The data taken from the drone can be downloaded and used to produce a map of ground soil moisture levels to inform the farmer on how best to irrigate the paddock.
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While equipped with optical mapping as a proof-of-concept, the drone has now advanced to passive microwave sensing technology using L-Band waves, with further research being conducted on the potential for using P-band waves.