An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is not a new technology. While early use came from assisting with military operations, these lightweight, remote-controlled devices are now being used for a number of capabilities – from basic hobby-grade to very technologically advanced uses in industrial and commercial settings.

A study from PwC, “Clarity from Above” found the global market for drone-powered business solutions to be valued at $127.3bn with agriculture being one of the top 3 industries primed for drone use.

In agriculture, one of the latest industries to increase tech investment, drones are making it possible for farmers to improve crop production and reduce waste. Drones are being used to not only improve the future of food production but also play an important role in speeding up critical decision-making in the agricultural field.

How Drones Are Used for Today’s Farms

As the world’s population grows and resources shrink, it’s become more important than ever for farmers to work smarter. Drones allow them to gain a better overall view of their fields and crops and increase efficiency.

Drones can be used to:

  • Carry and release liquids
  • Scan for disease and other issues
  • Address extreme weather conditions & better manage crop growth
  • Planting systems and soil analysis

Optical Sensors, Float Switches & Drones

Cameras are the most common technology included onboard drones but there are other technologies that can be added to further increase the effectiveness of the job these devices do on the farm.

More sophisticated sensors and deeper automation capabilities can create additional opportunities for success. Optical and ultrasonic sensors, for example, are small and lightweight and have accurate dependable measurement abilities so farmers get a broader and more accurate view of their fields.

When it comes to irrigation needs, the inclusion of thermal sensors that can measure temperatures and detect the presence or absence of liquid (i.e. drought) are important. These systems could also be connected to a system to sound an alarm or even activate a switch to allow proper watering to begin in hopes to keep the crops alive.

Ultrasonic sensors that listen for echoes to sense the amount of liquid present are also key to ensuring the proper amount of pesticides, herbicides or even water are sprayed to cover needed areas. This gets the job done quicker and with better precision than ever before possible.

One of the biggest issues plaguing farmers is the spread of disease that can threaten their entire yield. With optical sensors on a drone, it’s possible to spot possible issues early and make quick decisions to save the rest of the field before it becomes a larger issue.

Have questions? Speak with one of our experts to discuss any problems you are facing and to find a solution that fits your needs.

At SMD we can make sensors to measure anything and offer competitive pricing for OEM designs and applications. These include machined level sensors, optical switches, ultrasonic level measurement, and custom molded float switches in metals or plastics like stainless steel, polypropylene, and nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR). 

Get in touch today!