With a growing world population, efficiency of farming should increase to minimize environmental impact. Precision farming reduces production costs, improves waste management, water management and optimizes use of fertilizers. Currently, satellites are often used for precision farming. This however has disadvantages, it is very weather dependent and usually only provides data with a long time interval. Drones could be operated to eliminate these constraints. However, current mapping and surveying drones are limited in flight time and often require a lot of space to operate.
I propose building a solar-powered VTOL drone which can fly autonomously and sends data to a ground station in real-time. This is used as platform to mount the useful sensing and mapping hardware specific for e.g. farming, reef health monitoring etc. By using solar power, flight times are increased, allowing for larger areas to be mapped or higher resolution. Flight paths shall be programmed before flight and the drone will scan the prescribed area autonomously. As the project advances, more modules for specific mapping and surveying will be made available.
As a company, I would like to develop a modular solar-powered multi-rotor UAV which can be used to map and survey crops, nature reserves, marine biology near shores etc.