Australia’s Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (PBCRC) will provide $A1.74 million towards a new $A6.5 million project to evaluate Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) for biosecurity purposes.
The three year project, Optimising Surveillance Protocols Using Unmanned Aerial Systems, will investigate the capacity of emerging Unmanned Aerial Systems and new imaging technologies for biosecurity surveillance in horticultural and grains industries.
“Unmanned Aerial Systems have begun to revolutionise many areas of surveillance,” said Dr Michael Robinson, CEO of PBCRC.
“Combining the cost-effectiveness and wide coverage available through these systems with high resolution technologies, such as hyper-spectral imaging, has the potential to be an extremely powerful tool in the fight against invasive pests and diseases.”
The project will be led by CRC participants Kansas State University (K-State), with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as research partners.
K-State (Manhattan and Salina campuses) will host the project in the United States with UAS flight campaigns for data collection and evaluation in Australia being led by QUT.
“The new project builds on earlier CRC projects on Unmanned Aerial Systems,” said Assistant Professor Brian McCornack, project leader at K-State.
“While the project will initially target Russian Wheat Aphid and Wheat Stripe Rust, two major pests in the US, the technology will be applicable to a wide range of crops and pests affecting Australian industry.
“By using our understanding of pest biology we will be able to identify areas most likely to be infested.”
“Early detection is essential for good biosecurity,” said Dr Robinson.
“This project is an important step towards cost-effectively covering wider areas in less time for less money, while increasing rates of pest detection.”
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com