Researchers at the University of Madrid have developed a system to instantly find information on the status of a breeding and climate prediction for the same. The system, which combines wireless sensor networks and autonomous helicopters of four helices, helps prevent frost in vineyards.

System developed by the group of Robotics and Cybernetics UPM combines wireless sensor networks “quadrotors” (four propellers autonomous helicopters) to help prevent frost in vineyards. With this line of research, the team seeks the fusion of various techniques and technologies in order to solve problems related to field crops and climate prediction, the researchers explain.

quadrotor flying vineyards

Agricultural environments, they say, are ideal places in which to apply these technologies to improve performance and security. For example, wireless sensor networks ( Wireless sensor network -WSN-) are being widely used today, and that provide insight into various parameters associated with the status of a crop in a distributed, instantaneous and distance.

As explained in the UPM, WSN nodes are small devices interconnected via a communications mesh able to acquire information from their environment and transmit it. Thus, by measuring both simple environmental variables (moisture, temperature or ambient light, etc.) and complex (the specific concentration of some kind of gas for example), you can analyze the state of maturation, the presence of pests in fields culture or provide environmental and weather conditions.

The latter is precisely the application in which this work has focused. The vineyard-designate, are very temperature sensitive and need to be protected when there is a risk of frost. However, accurately predict where and when you can produce these is complicated because the difference in height or presence of trees, among other reasons, leads to often different vineyard areas are exposed to different environmental conditions.

The tool has been developed and Cyber Robotics Group of the UPM analyzes the evolution of temperature and humidity in each of the different zones, and depending on the light when and where it considers likely to be a frost. Thus, the farmer can prevent damage before it occurs, minimizing the time and locating in areas most at risk.

Distribution of sensors

However, the distribution of sensors in the field suffers from a disadvantage in almost all applications using sensor networks in agriculture, the difficulties of connectivity. The sensors need to communicate with each other to transmit the information they have collected, but the scope of its signal is weak. Added to this is that when agricultural land may be obstacles, both fixed and mobile, which further impede communication. To ensure the functioning of the system, regardless of the circumstances, we used an air vehicle that autonomously runs through the fields gathering the information of each sensor nodes. “This way you can get instant status parameters associated with each of the areas of culture, being also possible to connect remote areas together and monitor different types of culture,” they said.

Putting all these pieces in the end you get a system that warns the farmer, through his phone or his computer, when and where to place a freeze. This system has been successfully tested in vineyards owned by Andrew Morate in Belmonte de Tajo.