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Title: Development of an unmanned aerial vehicle-based spray system for highly accurate site-specific application

item Huang, Yanbo
item Hoffmann, Wesley - Clint
item Fritz, Bradley - Brad
item Lan, Yubin

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2008
Publication Date: 6/30/2008
Citation: Huang, Y., Hoffmann, W.C., Fritz, B.K., Lan, Y. 2008. Development of an unmanned aerial vehicle-based spray system for highly accurate site-specific application. Proceedings of the ASABE Annual International Meeting, St. Joseph, MO. Paper No. 08-3909.

Interpretive Summary: The use of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for the application of crop protection materials is a very new field in American agriculture. This work focused on developing a spray system for a UAV helicopter for making low volume spray applications using the global positioning data from the helicopter to target specific areas within a field. The software programs and instructions developed in this project will allow users to understand the components of the spray system and their operation. The use of the UAV system coupled with the developed spray system opens up a new way for American farmers to protect their crops from pests when conventional aircraft or ground sprayers can not reach an area that needs to be treated.

Technical Abstract: Application of crop production and protection materials is a crucial component in the high productivity of American agriculture. Agricultural chemical application is frequently needed at a specific time and location for accurate site-specific management of crop pests. Piloted aircrafts that carry a sprayer can perform agricultural application over hundreds of acres of crop fields. An unmanned aerial vehicle can be remotely controlled or fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems. This research was to develop a low volume spray system on a fully autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle to apply crop protection products on small plots or spots within a large crop field. This study discusses the development of the spray system and the integration of this spray system with an unmanned aerial vehicle, a fully autonomous unmanned vertical take-off and landing helicopter. The spray system was designed and developed for the helicopter system. The action of the sprayer was controlled by a global positioning system equipped on the helicopter. This control was realized through the communication between the automatic flight control system on the helicopter and the ground control station via a wireless telemetry system. The developed unmanned aerial vehicle-based spray system also has great potential for vector control in the areas that are not safe or easily accessible by personnel or equipment.