Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Two Spanish proposals for Precision Agriculture

25.04.2008
They are developing 3D maps of the land and a system for the selective application of herbicides

Spanish scientists have designed a mechanism that by simulating human sight generates 3D maps of agricultural land, as well as a system that can apply herbicides only on those plots where they are needed.

Both innovations have been put forward by researchers from the UPV (Universidad Politécnica de Valencia) and the UCM (Universidad Complutense of Madrid), respectively, and are within the field of Precision Agriculture, a new discipline that tries to optimise farm management from an agronomic, economic and environmental point of view.

The methodology used to produce the three-dimensional maps, published recently in the Computers and Electronics in Agriculture journal, has been developed by Francisco Rovira Más from the department of Mechanisation and Agrarian Technology of the UPV, together with scientists from the University of Illinois (USA). Rovira explains to SINC that global maps are essential in Precision Agriculture, i.e. maps that use GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems) techniques, with the traditional East and North co-ordinates. His team proposes to add a third dimension, altitude, and a level of detail “only attainable by means of local positioning systems that use cameras”.

In order to create these three-dimensional maps, a stereoscopic camera and sensors providing localisation and orientation data for the vehicle are installed by the researchers in a farm vehicle (a tractor or combine-harvester, for example). The images obtained by the camera are those that simulate human sight, as they enable at least two different simultaneous images to be obtained. When they are compared the distance at which the objects that appear within the field of vision of the camera can be estimated. “If the objects are very far away from the camera, they will occupy practically the same position in both images, but if they are near the camera, the differences will be greater”, explains Rovira Más.

With respect to the sensors, a GPS localisation sensor is used that allows the vehicle to be situated in real time within the system of co-ordinates, together with a sensor called “an inertial measurement unit”, to estimate their positions and speeds, as well as their gradient.

The scenes of the area captured by the camera are transformed into information that generates 3D point clouds. “The huge quantity of data these clouds involve, together with the lack of precision of the sensors, are the main challenges to overcome”, says the researcher. Moreover, he adds, the global maps give a plethora of information in real time for applications such as automatic guided vehicles, an improvement in safety measures, the monitoring of the increase in harvests or the planning of agricultural tasks according to local conditioning and climate factors (temperature, humidity, wind, quality of the soil, size and plant variety, historic yield data, etc.)

Herbicide only where it is needed

Moreover in Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, and other journals, such as Pattern Recognition, a new proposal has been published about Precision Agriculture focusing on the selective use of herbicides. Gonzalo Pajares, a lecturer in the Department of Software Engineering and Artificial Intelligence at the Faculty of Information Technology at the UCM, and one of the authors of the study, explains that this involves an intelligent system “based on the computerised vision to identify areas infested with weeds that require treatment with herbicides”.

The procedure is based on the analysis of the digital image sequences, captured by camera, of the field that is going to be treated. The method involves two stages: The division of the images into field parcels, and the decision about which of the parcels must be sprayed or not, and in what quantity. The choice is achieved by using Artificial Intelligence processes, that is to say “multi-attribute decision making”, a mathematical technique that enables a choice to be made between two finite alternatives. “This allows for doses of herbicides to be applied only in those fields where they are really needed", the researcher clarifies. At the moment, these phytosanitary products are applied indiscriminately to fields, regardless of whether they are needed or not.

The system thought up by the information technologists has been tried successfully in the cultivation of cereal and maize in the La Poveda research station in Arganda del Rey (Madrid), property of the CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) (Spanish National Research Council). This government agency has promoted the development of the study through the Institutes known as the Instituto de Automática Industrial (Institute of Industrial Automation) and the |Instituto de Ciencias Medioambientales (Institute of Environmental Sciences). The results obtained represent a saving of over 80% in treatment with herbicides, which translates into a considerable reduction in costs. Pajares says, “and what is more important, there is also a reduction in pollution of the environment” without there being any repercussions on the productivity of the land.

The studies about Precision Agriculture, such as the two proposed by the Spanish researchers, enables farming tasks such as spraying with herbicides, sowing and the use of fertilisers, to be planned in a more efficient and sustainable way. These studies put forward the use of new technologies in order to optimise farm work, but do not forget the existence of the changeable nature of the land, something farmers have known about since time began.

Sinc Team | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plataformasinc.es

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>