New Danish drone monitors crops in vertical farms

A group of students at Denmark’s Aarhus University has developed a drone that can monitor any individual plant’s condition in vertical cultivation.

The students made the drone as part of a mechatronics challenge initiated by Aarhus University’s School of Engineering in collaboration with Nextfood, a company that develops technology for vertical farming,

The compact drone, with the help of two cameras and QR codes, “is capable of monitoring the growth of every plant, thus ensuring everything runs smoothly”, one of the student designers, Jeppe Andersen, told HortiDaily in March 2020.

The drone flies between the plants, recognising them via their QR codes and making an image analysis of each one plant. Via this analysis, the drone can inform the grower about the plant’s condition – whether it has any growth issues; when it’s ready for harvest.

Plants used in the project were grown in experimental vertical facilities without soil or sunlight. Fed by a mix of nutrients in water, they were exposed to red, white, and blue LED lighting, with lighting and nutrients adjusted as needed to fit plants’ requirements.

Watch the drone in action

The presentation video below was made by the student team to showcase its mechatronics challenge project.

Source: Danish students develop drone that monitors crops in vertical farming I Horti Daily