Radar and the DJI Farming Drone

Drones are become widely used outside of the consumer industry. One of the branches of drone use is in farming. How are drones used? Well, they can be used for crop degradation detection, water dispersion observation, and crop dusting just to name a few. DJI AGRS MG-1 drone performs crop dusting. To see DJI’s farming page click here.

Credit: DJI.com

Why use drones vs other means of crop dusting? A couple of answers:

  1. Drones are generally quick and easy to set up vs a tractor, or a plane.
  2. Drones are cheaper than a tractor and plane in the long run.
  3. One does not need a hard and expensive flying lesson to fly a drone unlike a plane.
  4. Drones can perform more even dusting of fertilizer and chemicals
  5. Drones will help improve land utilization since a drone may fly over vs a tractor driving through a field.
Credit: DJI.com

So how is a drone more efficient at spraying chemicals than a plane or someone manually? Sensors….But not just any sensors, it has radar and most likely a liquid management software system.

How does radar work?

Radar more or less is pretty simple to understand but slightly harder to implement. Radar frequency signal, like sound but typically not audible to the human ear, is produced by an antenna or speaker. This signal will travel until it hits an object in which the signal will then bounce off and return to the antenna or receiver speaker. The time from when the signal was produced to when the signal is received is calculated. That calculation is then used to determine the distance the object is from the radar sensor and in DJI’s case, it’s drone.

Credit: Georg Wiora (Dr. Schorsch) – Self drawn with Inkscape 

DJI uses microwave radar and gets centimeter precision which means the frequency that is used to produce the signal is in the range of 3-30GHz or 1-10cm. Kind of a broad range but that is better than the 100Mhz to 100 Ghz that Microwave frequency is quantified as.

Having a drone with radar, getting centimeter precision, the ability to fly at the optimum height to evenly spread chemicals to crops, and perform the task quicker than manual workers is a win win for farmers trying to bring their crop yields up and costs down.

As stated, this is only one subset of what drones are used outside of the consumer world to better the world. If you have an idea or have created an idea that will better the world through drones or some other invention and you may be featured here on the site. Please send me an email @  Addcalmtoengineering@gmail.com   with your idea or invention.

Disclaimer: This blog is solely Tinee9’s opinions through electrical engineering experience and does not have exact knowledge of the inner workings of DJI products that would compromise IP, or patent infringement. DJI is not a sponsor of Tinee9 but Tinee9 is apart of DJI affiliate program to help earn revenue to keep the website going.

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