The Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) Department of Aerospace Engineering that has been developing drones for various applications has come up with another one which will benefit the farming community.

The department has developed drones that can help identify diseases in crops by hovering over the agriculture land.“Drones can be used to identify diseases in crops.

The drones fitted with multi-spectral cameras can be launched over the plantation area. They will capture images of the plants and identify if they are affected by any
disease,” said SN Omkar, chief research scientist, Department of Aerospace Engineering. He added that by using this technology, the early onset of diseases can be detected – thereby helping the farming community.

“We are in touch with agricultural scientists to understand how this method can be used to minimise crop loss,” Omkar said.

The department’s drone laboratory has been granted Rs 10 lakh by the Karnataka IT and BT department’s Karnataka Grand Challenge for Innovation Ideas for coming up with ideas and the drone to identify diseases in crops is one such application.

The department has developed a wide range of drones comprising fixed wing to rotary wing drones.

Working with the farming community is not new to the department, it has in the past been associated with agriculture-related activities in the neighbouring states.It has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kerala government for surveying agricultural fields.

“Surveying of agricultural fields includes plant health monitoring and advising the farming community by giving them information on where the crops are affected,” he said.

“The farmers can use a lesser amount of pesticides and focus on a small area instead of spraying them on the entire field,” he said.