Researchers from Washington State University (WSU) are developing a drone system for driving birds from agricultural sites, thereby reducing crop damage.

The system under development will feature drones that can patrol agricultural sites 24/7, deterring pest birds that destroy crops. The current iteration of the system features drones, a camera system and an algorithm for finding and counting birds.

Source: WSUSource: WSU

So far, the team has accomplished two steps of a multi-step project. First, the team has demonstrated that it can manually deter pest birds with the drones. Next, researchers demonstrated that the manually operated drones successfully drove off birds, reducing bird counts by a reported four-fold and reducing damaged crops by roughly 50%.

Future steps of the project include adding bird call sounds to the system and automating the drones so that they can launch without human intervention.

The system is detailed in the article, Automated execution of a pest bird deterrence system using a programmable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), which appears in the journal Computer and Electronics in Agriculture.

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