Hashemite University and University of Leeds (UK) are collaborating to develop project using drones to tackle drought

[18-06-2022 09:40 AM]

Ammon News - In the observation of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, the UK’s Newton Khalidi funded project aims to tackle drought in Jordan with drones. The project is a successful collaboration between University of Leeds and the Hashemite University.

Jordan is facing an exceptional drought crisis. A solution is needed to combat the impact of recurrent drought episodes by balancing the uses of water for irrigation, drinking and industrial needs.

Agriculture irrigation is one of the biggest challenges that Jordan is facing. Excessive and wasteful flooding of crops and scarcity of rainwater has led to several dams drying up in the kingdom. Poor agricultural technologies lead to low quality standards, often overlooking the unique requirements of different vegetables, soil, and land.
Researchers from the University of Leeds (UK) and the Hashemite University have teamed up to develop drones as a fully scalable yet responsive solution to efficient micro-irrigation of dry lands in Jordan. Micro-irrigation is a low-pressure, low-flow-rate type of irrigation that can reduce the overwatering of a landscape.

Researchers utilise drones based on the Internet of Things (IoT) sensor networks. This technology enables micro-irrigation that can save valuable water resources and improve agricultural output by efficiently targeting irrigation to both crops and soil within targeted geographical areas.

The project team are working to employ a small number of low-cost lightweight drones to harvest real-time wireless data, (e.g., humidity), from localised energy-efficient soil sensors to monitor and control the micro irrigation. An approach that will keep the costs lower than building an expensive and complicated wireless sensor network, (WSN), in a remote drought region.

The drones are controlled via autopilot. The lack of processing, memory, and power resources on board the device, allows the drones to monitor and process set parameters using a ground command and control node, powered via renewable energy.

Project researchers are collaborating with MARS Robotics to learn from their unique knowledge of developing drone solutions in Jordan. This transfer of knowledge between industry and academia is enabling the development of a fully working framework, that will assist in solving the water problems in the agriculture sector in Jordan. This collaborative work continues, with more results to be achieved and products to be presented.

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