Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/20/2014
Publication Date: 12/15/2014
Citation: Huang, Y., Hoffmann, W.C., Lan, Y., Fritz, B.K., Thomson, S.J. 2014. Development of a low-volume sprayer for an unmanned autonomous helicopter. Journal of Agricultural Science. 7(1):148-153.
Interpretive Summary: An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is an aircraft that is remotely operated and flies without a human crew on board the aircraft. An UAV is used to cover much smaller crop fields with much lower flight altitude than the airplanes piloted by a human crew on board to perform site-specific management with high precision. In agriculture, UAVs have been developed and used for chemical application for crop protection and production and remote sensing. The spray system on board the UAV is able to deliver fertilizers and chemicals at specific time and location for highly accurate site-specific management. This research further developed a low-volume sprayer for an UAV helicopter for crop production management. The results indicate that the UAV technology is useful for precision delivery of agrochemicals for crop protection and management.
Technical Abstract: An UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) can fly over much smaller areas with much lower flight altitudes than conventional, piloted airplanes. In agriculture, UAVs have been mainly developed and used for chemical application and remote sensing. Application of fertilizers and chemicals is frequently needed at specific time and location for highly accurate site-specific management. UAVs provide a technology to fulfill the goals of such site-specific crop management as part of modern precision applications to agricultural crops. This research focused on development of a new low-volume sprayer for an UAV helicopter to be used for crop production management. The developed low-volume sprayer for the UAV helicopter was able to deliver liquid covering the 30 m swath, 42 m downwind. Deposition results from monofilament lines demonstrated that the spray coverage was sensitive to the power voltage but not release height, while the deposition measurement from spinner methodology needs to be refined to achieve higher resolution and lower variance. The UAV technology is useful for precision delivery of agrochemicals for crop protection and management.