7 April, 2024

DRONES WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ARE REVOLUTIONIZING THE AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY IN CHILE.


Thanks to the information they collect, they assist in data precision and predictive decision-making.


Drone technology is available in Chile thanks to DJI Dronespray, a company that since 2011 has worked to provide efficient tools for monitoring, mapping, and treating agricultural crops with greater precision. "This allows for more efficient use of resources, reduces operating costs, and improves production," reveals Jorge Álamos, an Environmental engineer and one of its founders.

Drones already use Artificial Intelligence (level 1), especially in decision-making when applying products in the field and in obstacle safety.

For example, they can decide to avoid an obstacle by the freer sector, thus avoiding accidents, generating alternative routes, and opting for the best one. "It does this without affecting the spraying process it is carrying out," Álamos exemplifies. This capability greatly reduces the risk of accidents, making drone flights ultimately "safer and more reliable," the company emphasizes.

The company has also developed software solutions that harness AI to improve post-flight data analysis and processing. Some models feature programs that create accurate representations of images taken by the drone, mapping 2D or 3D routes over orthomosaic models and infrared (multispectral) lines, allowing for crop status representation in colors, through prospecting of spraying or fertilization with the required dose. "This is a very important point as it directly contributes to the efficient use of resources and fewer chemicals in the environment, which has a very significant economic impact. For example, 200cc of an insecticide can cover several hectares, whereas normally it only covers one," Álamos warns.

The price range of drones varies depending on the model and its capabilities. They range from $5,000 to $29,900 (approximately $4,650,000 to $28,000,000). The equipment can include imaging that allows for flight planning and knowledge of crop health status, and there are also models for the application of liquid or solid products. "Although the initial investment may seem high, drones have a rapid rate of return, due to their short- term benefits, such as reduced operating costs, increased efficiency, and improved crop quality. On average, the investment returns between 8 and 12 months after purchase," Álamos assures.

This technology promises to solve many problems in this industry in the areas of fumigation and fertilization. "There are even new tasks that we have been developing with farmers, such as drying crops after rain, something that is normally done with helicopters," emphasizes Jorge Álamos.

DJI Dronespray ensures that this technology contributes to sustainability through the availability of drones that allow for more efficient management of agricultural resources, reducing waste and optimizing product use. "This has a positive impact on the environment and on the carbon footprint of field operations," concludes Álamos.