Popularity and adoption of drone technology is catching up in the world across regions and sectors and India is no exception to it.
For example, a team of scientists at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee has developed drone technologies for applications in precision agriculture and railway track monitoring.
Precision agriculture aims at better agricultural productivity and food management practices at a very large scale.
It is a field-specific, crop management concept, which uses real-time information obtained by employing wireless sensors, remote sensing and geographical information systems to make smarter decisions for better productivity.
Drones are now emerging as an essential component.
Precision agriculture mostly depends on satellite images. They provide information regarding land type and vegetation including biomass and water stress in crops.
Drones can provide the same information on more real-time basis with greater accuracy and few errors. Such a strategy, say scientists, could help government agencies, policy makers and insurance agencies to assess crop damage in case of natural calamities for payment of insurance claims.
The other initiative involves use of drones for monitoring rail tracks. Regular inspection of railway tracks is highly crucial for safe operation of trains.
They used DJI Phantom 3 drone fitted with sensors and camera which records Ultra High Definition and HD videos and high resolution images. The images were then processed to remove any unwanted noise or blurring.
Further, edge detection technique was used to separate railway tracks from the background. The railway track detection from the edges was done using technical computing software.
The reliability and accuracy of the technique was tested using over 1,000 image samples captured under different weather conditions including cloudy monsoon season.
The technique is flexible and can be operated over rough terrains and high altitudes, which are challenges for regular inspection methods.
India announced a new policy to encourage commercial and civil use of drone operations. It is expected to enhance commercial use of drones and create a market demand for them.