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DeFFAR - Detection of Fungus in Fields using Autonomous Robots
Agriculture sector is the backbone of Pakistan. It is very important for feeding the population and plays an important role in the export sector of the country. However, the agricultural output of the country is constantly decreasing. This is mostly due to use of old methods of farming, which heavily depend on manual labor. As a result, per hectare yield of the country is less than in most other countries of the world. There is a much felt need for modernizing the farming methods which results in increased yield figures of crops. One method of modernizing the farming methods is to automate the farming process as much as possible. With the advancement of computer science and robotics, it is now possible to devise ICT solutions for automation which were never possible before.
Keeping this in mind, we aim to explore the use of robotics in farming. We have had some experience of applying ICT to agricultural problems and making initial experiments. The initial results are promising enough to launch a complete research project and prove the effectiveness of robotics technology in farming automation. According to local farmers, one of the problems that results in lower yield of a crop is the spread of fungus disease. Once fungus is introduced in a crop, it can quickly spread and damage a large area of the crop. Therefore, farmers have to be very vigilant in monitoring the introduction of fungus to any area in the whole crop.
Our proposed solution is to develop a robotic systzem that can continuously monitor the crop and alert the farmer immediately on detection of any traces of fungus in the crop. This will enable the farmer to promptly take action to remove the fungus, removing the risk of wide spread fungus damage. Such a robot will need onboard sensors which can detect fungus in the crop. The robot should be able to maneuver over the crop area without damaging the crop. There should be constant communication with the farmer to alert him of any fungus detected in the crop.
- UCP – University of Central Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan