Grant Allows Student Research Team To Further Develop GPS Agricultural Drone

gps for crop spraying
When it comes to exciting innovations in technology, where would we be without the research teams at colleges and universities? One of the newest tech ideas comes from a team of student researchers at the Middlesex County Academy for Science. This team is working on a GPS tracker drone that can spray crops for farmers.

This team doesn’t need to worry about funding either. The Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Program has just pledged a grant of $10,000 to the school’s young researchers.

Schools Helping Schools

The MIT InvenTeam Program exists to give those with revolutionary ideas for inventions an economic boost to help push the idea into reality. They seek out ideas that solve real problems, and this crop dusting drone will help farmers save money by “efficiently and accurately” spraying crops with pesticides.

Agriculture is still a rich part of our heritage here in the US, but it is increasingly more difficult with farmers realizing it just isn’t going to pay the bills. MIT realizes that this is one solution to the problem, and is betting these students figure out a way to invent an unmanned, GPS tracker driven drone that farmers can actually afford.

The Drone

It is designed to spray crops on smaller-sized farms. The unmanned vehicle measures 5 feet across and features 16-inch rotors. Not only will the drone rely on a GPS tracker to manipulate its way over the fields, it will also feature a camera for visual tracking. The main goal of the team: keep the drone affordable. After all, farmers are looking to increase profits. Hard to do that when you are required to spend a fortune on the drone!

The team the school has assembled to work on the project is impressive. It consists of a pesticide specialist from Rutgers, drone expert from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (who actually helped create the Predator drone the military relies on), computer vision specialist, expert in aerial crop dusting, and the senior manager at Lockheed Martin, just to name a few.

The Program’s Goal

The grant program itself seeks out those individuals making a difference by creating things that make a real change for the better in their own communities. With a rich background of farming in the Middlesex County area, the Edison Academy students are doing just that.

And just who decides the recipient of the grant? Judges consist of a wide range of people — MIT professors, researchers, and alumni, experts within the industry, and those who were chosen to receive the Lemelson-MIT award in the past — all worked to make a final decision.

In all, there were 15 finalists chosen for consideration to receive the grant. School officials are thrilled, stating it displays their devotion to working hard on solving real world problems with the education they are receiving there.

We often write about the use of GPS trackers when it comes to wildlife, but it’s nice to see GPS technology being used for practical uses like spraying fields of crops. Don’t you agree? And, of course, if you’re looking for a GPS tracker, we have what you need!


Photo by MASEV via Flickr Creative Commons

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