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Development of a spraying system using drones that is economically viable and capable of competing with traditional application methods

Grant number: 20/05736-9
Support type:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: November 01, 2020 - July 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Mechanical Engineering - Mechanical Engineering Design
Principal researcher:Henrique Moritz
Grantee:Henrique Moritz
Company:ModelWorks Engenharia Ltda. - ME
CNAE: Cultivo de soja
Atividades técnicas relacionadas à arquitetura e engenharia
Testes e análises técnicas
City: São Carlos
Pesquisadores principais:
Carlos Alfredo Moritz

Abstract

The present project aims the development of an agricultural application drone capable of applying at costs below R $ 10 / ha and applying products at variable rates, through prior planning, allowing eventual applications only in necessary areas, saving up to 80% of pesticides and time. The use of imaging, both visual and multispectral, in national agriculture makes it possible to identify pathologies prematurely as well as the focus of them. Unfortunately, terrestrial agricultural machines, as well as airplanes, do not have the capacity to apply pesticides only in small areas of problem, forcing farmers to apply them in a generalized way. Some more advanced terrestrial machines even manage to vary the flow, however due to their large size, they are not capable of application in small outbreaks (like weeds) and even if they did, their movement over the crop is slow, expensive and causes damage by kneading in the culture. A drone capable of attacking punctual outbreaks and also applying in a generalized manner at costs of around R $ 7.00 / ha has great potential for reducing inputs, costs and environmental impacts of crops, as the consequent reduction in applied chemicals would be a strong environmental and financial gain for producers. Other important advantages of using a drone for application with acceptable cost are: - Possibility of use on smaller properties, which are not feasible to use airplanes and / or large machines, forcing farmers to use very small machines, where the risk of contamination by the operator is high and the application control is very precarious; - It allows use at night, where conditions are more favorable, allowing the reduction of product concentration, allowing obvious environmental and economic gains; - Possibility of application with minimum product drift, even in unfavorable conditions, allowing the correct application in the border of agricultural plots; There are a large number of initiatives of this type, as the advantages of using drones in applications are substantial, however almost all of the initiatives result in small and expensive drones for the market. ModelWorks focused its effort on reducing application costs through several innovative routes, including a route already patented by the company: - Reduction of the refueling time and personnel required for the operation, through an automatic refueling station (Patent BR102017018641-5 A2, attached to the project); - Definition of minimum size that would be able to achieve low costs (greater than 80 kg of capacity); - Use of power generator on board (Auxiliary Power Unit) and not batteries; - Use of long spray bars to obtain wider ranges; - Use of rotary atomizers with electrostatic charge (Better quality and distribution of drops on the leaves and less drift). The use of drones that make it possible to reduce the order of 40% on average of inputs has the potential to save national agriculture in the order of billions of reais a year, since pathology control inputs are currently one of the greatest costs for national agriculture. (AU)

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