Weeds compete with neighboring crops for light, water and nutrients, costing the farming industry billions each year in agricultural yield.
To keep a better eye on fields, improve crop yields and reduce the use of pesticides, farmers and agriculture researchers are turning to AI.
“We believe the digital agriculture revolution will help in reducing the use of chemical products in agriculture,” said Adel Hafiane, an associate professor at the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, in France’s Centre Val de Loire. Hafiane is working with colleagues from the University of Orléans to develop AI that detects weeds from drone images of beet, bean and spinach crops.
“If farmers can map the location of weeds,” he said, “they don’t need to spray chemical products over an entire field — they can just target specific areas, intervening at the right time and site.”
Using the georeferenced coordinates of where an aerial image was captured, farmers can determine the location of weeds in a field. The insights provided by the researchers’ deep learning network could then be deployed in agricultural robots on the ground that can remove or spray weeds in large fields…