AI-powered devices deliver ‘micro-dose’ of herbicide to cut agriculture’s chemical use

| | September 27, 2019
dronespray
Credit: Myjoyonline
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Above a Saskatchewan field, a line of drones rises in formation, sensors primed to pick out enemy targets below.

But this isn’t the latest Terminator movie.

This is Daniel McCann’s brainchild for green-on-green spot spraying, an offshoot of precision spraying that promises to identify and take out weeds in a growing crop.

Why it matters: Smart spot spraying is being pushed as a “best of all worlds” solution to decrease input use, save farmers money, get better agronomic outcomes and pacify a public worried about pesticides in the field.

McCann’s company, Precision.ai, has developed drones with artificial intelligence to achieve that goal. Twenty drones can fly at a time. Sensors identify over 48,000 plant types as they fly over and deliver a micro-dose of herbicide to weeds, leaving surrounding plants untouched.

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It promises to save farmers “a huge amount on chemical cost,” according to McCann. It will also address public concerns with pesticides and reducing the environmental impact of farming, since the drones themselves use no gasoline or chemical fuel.

“Because of the chemical that we’re going to be saving, we actually forecast that we could potentially do a custom spray for the entire field for less than the cost of just the chemical that the farmer is using today,” McCann said.

Read full, original article: Adding some IQ to smart spraying

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