The HASMAAD drone is designed to
convenience small-scale farmers while
Currently, small-scale farmers use backpack sprayers (image on the right) or small tractors to apply pesticides to their crops. Not only are these methods labor intensive and time consuming, but they also pose health risks since they expose the farmer to pesticides. Existing drones are also very expensive and difficult to get a hold of.
These concerns are not present with the HASMAAD. To use this drone, all the farmer has to go is select field he would like sprayed on the GUI map and tell the drone to start the mission. The drone will then use GPS coordinates to locate the field and image processing to identify the rows of crops to spray. Directing the spray at rows specifically lowers pesticide drift and allows for higher efficiency in pesticide usage.
The drone can be monitored by a laptop control station and has a joystick override for safety.
Coming up with our invention statement was not easy. We had facts and ideas but were still missing something. We did not have a feel for the field we were trying to help, agriculture. That is where Dr. John Grande, director of Rutgers Snyder Research and Extension Farm, came in.
The first time we visited Dr. Grande’s farm was in June last year. The meeting lasted for about 3 hours and in those 3 hours we had revelations that inspired core design changes in our drone.
Originally, our drone was to spray crops from above as is typically done. However, when we visited the farm, we realized that spraying crops from the side, as is usually done with backpack sprayed, would be more efficient. Thus the HASMAD was reborn as a side-spraying drone.
Visiting the drone’s intended work environment allowed us to see things that we were blind to sitting in a lab at school. Dr. Grande’s expertise in pesticide and feedback as the intended end-user were invaluable.
Now, we were able to go back and write our drone’s final proposal with a firm understanding of the field we were trying to help.
The Middlesex County Academy InvenTeam’s invention is an autonomous unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that will efficiently and accurately spray crops on small-scale farms. The drone will be an octorotor that is about five feet across and has 16-inch propellers. To navigate, we will use a combination of GPS and computerized visual tracking of the crops using a camera. The user will input GPS coordinates for the field he wants sprayed, fill the tank with what he wants to spray, and tell the drone to take off. The drone will then spray the crops, tracking the plants to ensure it is as accurate as possible. The projected cost for the end user will be $5000. The drone is intended for use with pesticide, but will be tested using a completely safe mixture of kaolin clay and water at the Rutgers Snyder Research and Extension Farm.