Research project employs drones to give early warning of spotted-wing drosophila

Drone technology could be used to create an automated monitoring system for soft fruit pest spotted-wing drosophila (SWD, Drosophila suzukii).

Image: University of Aberdeen
Image: University of Aberdeen

A three-year, Defra-funded project at the University of Aberdeen is to use drones to monitor, identify and alert growers to the presence of the fly so that they can take swift action to prevent crop damage.

Dr David Green of the university's department of geography and environment said: "Early detection is key to prevention, however current monitoring methods usually involve manually checking traps for signs of the fruit fly, which is very time-consuming and inefficient if you are going from trap to trap over acres of land.

"We are aiming to develop an automated system where drones fitted with cameras fly over sticky traps which trap the fly in a way that allows it to be identified from the air."

The university is partnering with Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland and the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands on the project.

Green added: "Our Dutch partners are specialists in image processing, and our aim is to develop an image-capturing and processing system that can recognise the fly and carry out an automatic count in order to determine to what extent they are present in the crop.

"From there a fast alert can be issued to growers and they can undertake the necessary action to prevent damage to their crop."


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

What challenges and opportunities lie in store for tomato growers?

The British Tomato Growers Association (TGA) conference today (21 September) heard a range of perspectives on what changes lie in store for the sector and how to anticipate them.

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

Buoyant demand for UK apples but frost and labour remain concerns

As the British apple season begins, English Apples & Pears (EAP) is warning that growers will feel the effects of both a late frost in spring and also constrained labour supply.

Tomorrow's tractors

Tomorrow's tractors

These machines have advanced rapidly over recent years but what does the future hold? Sally Drury looks ahead.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon