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IISc tech solves crop glut woes

IISc tech solves crop glut woes

Bengaluru, dhns: In a relief to farmers who are driven to despair when glut in the market routinely sends prices crashing, researchers have come up with a technology that helps avoid such crises.

In Bengaluru, the prices of tomatoes soar as high as Rs 80 at times and hit lows of Rs 8 a kg. Blame it on over production or scarcity, say experts.

With too much of the produce hitting the market, farmers are forced to discard it as it does not fetch them even the transportation costs.

The new method developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) doesn’t require the time-consuming process of collecting data on crop cultivation and yields.

In the Low Altitude Remote Sensing (LARS) system, data is gathered by drones and analysed with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).

Ramesh Kestur, researcher, IISc, said an unmanned aerial vehicle is deployed to get images of a particular area. With images clearer than those from satellites, crop estimation can be done by analysis.

 

Here is how it works: The camera fitted on a drone captures pictures. The system is prepared for object detection. “Further, there are advances in the use of AI/deep learning for image processing. The technology advancements in UAV and deep learning enable interesting applications for agriculture,” said Kestur.

The application also gathers data by the colour gradient.

“It has the ability to pick on the crops from a plant. This helps one get a count. The colour gradient tells us about the status of ripening,” he added.

S N Omkar, Chief Research Scientist at the Department of Aerospace Engineering, IISc, said the pilot for this has been conducted in a field in Kolar. “We did a pilot on mango and the results are great,” he said.

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