DJI, WSU to Partner on Agricultural Drone Research

DJI, WSU to Partner on Agricultural Drone Research

Jun 30, 2016 @ 19:19 | 

DJI, the world’s leading commercial drone manufacturer, and Washington State University Tuesday announced their intention to partner on research and use of unmanned aerial systems in precision agriculture.

DJI and WSU will jointly develop methods to improve agriculture with unmanned aerial systems, making farms more efficient, reducing waste, protecting the environment and increasing crop yields. This is DJI’s first comprehensive partnership with a U.S. university.

“We are excited to collaborate with WSU, and recognize their vast experience in aerospace and agricultural applications,” said Romeo Durscher, DJI director of education. “Letting educators, students and researchers work with our hardware and create applications through our software development kit (SDK) will lead to new inventions and better utilization of our platforms and help a variety of people and industries, from farmers to field workers to consumers.”

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“Given our state’s long history in aerospace innovation and our vast agricultural resources, WSU is well positioned to bridge the gap between these two industries,” said Alex Pietsch, WSU associate vice president for corporate relations. “We are excited to partner with DJI to help bring their transformative technologies to the field and farm.”

“DJI is poised to provide cutting-edge technology in the agricultural industry,” said Asif Chaudhry, WSU vice president for international programs. “This partnership expands WSU’s broad international presence and provides a pathway to being a leader in smart systems and sustainable resources research.”

WSU’s Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), based in Prosser, Wash., will lead the effort. CPAAS provides the vast agricultural community in the Pacific Northwest with the latest technology for increased farming efficiency and environmentally friendly production.

“CPAAS is focused on high-impact research outcomes,” said Qin Zhang, CPAAS director. “Our facilities, students and faculty offer DJI significant development capabilities and a unique testing ground.”

Headquartered in Shenzhen, Guongdong, China, DJI is the market leader in easy-to-fly unmanned aerial vehicles and aerial photography systems. In 2015, the company released its first drone developed specifically for agriculture, the DJI Agras MG-1.

With WSU’s history of developing technology solutions for agriculture, the diverse nature of Washington agriculture, and DJI’s developing agricultural drone technology, the two partners are pursuing research collaborations that include:

  • Precision agriculture: crop stress monitoring, aerial imaging and precision spraying;
  • Automated UAS platform development and testing for crop loss management, such as bird deterrence and rainwater removal from cherry canopies;
  • Rapid field phenotyping (aerial imaging) of new crop breeding lines; and
  • Development and evaluation of next generation unmanned aerial systems for agricultural use.

DJI will also study starting a “Global Research Challenge” at WSU, enlisting students and faculty to find solutions to real world technological problems.

Image: WSA

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