Use of drones in agriculture: A bird deterrent system
Pest birds damage to commercial crops is a serious problem for farmers in Zimbabwe, especially for high-value crops such as maize, wheat and millet. The lack of a universally costeffective bird deterring method has led to food insecurities in Zimbabwe. There is a need to develop a new cost-effective solution to curb bird pest problems using modern technologies complemented by bird psychology that reduce habituation. This project focuses on pest bird control in a 1-hectare maize field because of the extremely high value of the maize crop to the food security of Zimbabwe. The recent development of drone technologies has provided an autonomous pest bird management system as a potential solution. There are now available offthe- shelf bird deterring UAVs. However, the issue is to detect the presence of birds in the first place. Moreover, birds quickly habituate to simple scaring techniques, and these methods lose their effectiveness before crops are harvested. This project designed a cost-effective bird detective system using HB100 radar motion sensors dotted around the field. Different radar modules were investigated to determine their effectiveness at detecting birds at 15m from the sensor. Radar modules investigated were HB100, CMD324 and K-LCa1. HB100 proved to be better at detecting birds than other radar modules. Different prerecorded sounds for the bird deterring system were played from an mp3 player and Atmega328P. The mp3 played produced higher quality audio, which the birds can perceive as a real threat. However in terms of loudness a 5mW piezo horn twitter provided a sound that can be heard 500m away. Different UAVs were investigated for their effectiveness in carrying the predation risk system, and a UAV with autopilot performed better under windy conditions. Autopilot stabilized the drone and reduced the risk of crashing the drone. A prototype system was constructed and tested in a number of flight tests to verify its capability of deterring the birds from the field. The experiments demonstrated that the designed prototype system could detect and deter birds in the field with delayed habituation.
Capstone Project submitted to the Department of Engineering, Ashesi University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, May 2022