Automated Drones Could Help Growers Deal with Problem Birds

A Washington State University study published in the journal Computer and Electronics in Agriculture showed the potential for automated drones to scare away pest birds that damage fruit crops. Over several years, the research team developed a camera system to detect birds in a field and customized very small drones that can be deployed to scare birds with their whirring noise. This study followed work that showed that drones flown manually could scare away pest birds to reduce crop losses. “Growers don’t really have a good tool they can rely on for deterring pest birds at an affordable price,” said the study’s corresponding author, Manoj Karkee. “With further refinement and industry partnerships, this system could work.”