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Newseria - Drones could revolutionize agriculture. In the coming years, they will prove themselves primarily in spraying and working in hard-to-reach areas

The seemingly traditional industry, such as agriculture, is increasingly being changed by modern technologies such as the Internet of Things or artificial intelligence, and the global agritech sector is growing in strength. According to the research of the University of Agriculture in Krakow, farmers indicate technologies that would increase the efficiency of fertilization, support the cultivation of the land or enable automatic running of machines as the most useful in their daily work. One of the devices that can change the realities of farmers' work are drones and agricultural robots that successfully replace humans, for example during spraying.

- Agriculture is mainly influenced by IoT technologies. These include drones or point solutions that are locally installed in the field, such as sensors in the soil. We are also talking about precision farming solutions. These are, for example, rovers that are able to weed the field during the cultivation cycle - says Sebastian Konkol from Spectre Solutions in an interview with Newseria agency.

According to the research of the University of Agriculture in Krakow, and quoted in the Startup Poland report "Technology in agriculture", 54 percent. farmers indicated the technologies of automatic steering as the most useful in their daily work. Even more, 72 percent. farmers, would willingly use technologies that increase the efficiency of fertilization. For 48 percent the use of support systems for soil cultivation would be crucial. Another technology important in the sector is telemetry.

On the one hand, autonomous agricultural devices can relieve farmers at work, and on the other - replace them when looking after crops located in hard-to-reach places. XAG agricultural drones have been participating since July in test spraying of potato fields located in the Andes in Ecuador at an altitude of over 3,000. m.a.s.l. Spraying uses a drone equipped with four spray nozzles and a 16-liter intelligent liquid tank. Thanks to such devices, farmers would not only be relieved of working in hard-to-reach terrain, but also would not be exposed to pesticides. The development of popularity of such solutions is also possible due to the fact that agricultural drones are not among the most complex unmanned aerial vehicles.

- This is not artificial intelligence, it is just an algorithm that steers the flight path to optimally fulfill the mission. In the case of, for example, driving equipment, we are talking about very advanced algorithms, such as in Tesla cars, where we mark a path in the field before starting the equipment, and then the cultivation takes place practically by itself - says Sebastian Konkol.

Meanwhile, the possibilities related to the use of drones in agriculture are also closely related to precision farming. Unmanned aerial vehicles are equipped with heads on which high-resolution cameras, sensors and scanners can be mounted. The information collected during the flight over the field allows, for example, to create a digital twin of the crop, on which information about the humidity or the level of vegetation of plants is marked. Such information analyzed allows, for example, simulations of possible damage to crops due to natural disasters. The use of drones in agricultural areas is becoming an increasingly popular tool for crop owners. However, it is slightly more difficult to introduce drones into the airspace of cities.

- When it comes to automation, especially drones, we have a very developed and well-structured law, but business expects even more. We need the ability to easily transport parcels within cities. There, the U-Space area is not closed to us at the moment, but it is very difficult - the expert assesses.

According to BIS Research analysts, the global market of agricultural drones and robots will achieve revenues of over USD 30 billion by 2026. The average annual growth rate will remain at the level of over 22%. The recovery in this market is fostered, among others, by large government investments. The National Food and Agriculture Institute (NIFA), operating at the US Department of Agriculture, invested nearly $ 22 million this spring. w programs to help agricultural producers manage the effects of climate change on their land and agricultural production. Farmers will receive funding to introduce innovations in agricultural technologies. According to analysts, such programs will trigger the demand for drones and agricultural robots.

The use of modern technologies in agriculture was the subject of a lecture during one of the September Thursday Gathering, cyclical meetings for the community of innovators, which take place every Thursday afternoon in Varso at Chmielna Street in Warsaw on the initiative of the Venture Café Warsaw Foundation.

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