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Drones better than satellites to gauge crop loss, says panel
Aug 24, 2016

Why in news

A committee tasked by the government’s apex planning body with studying how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used in crop insurance schemes has said drones trump satellite technology for the purpose.

What the report said:

  • The committee also maintained that sharing cadastral (land’s location, ownership, tenure) details, Aadhaar card and bank account details is “mandatory” for effective crop insurance policies.
  • The ideal alternative is to gather data from low heights [i.e., below the cloud] and at very high resolution where aerial photography or UAVs score over all available alternatives.
  • The current satellites which are even better than 10m spatial resolution would not be sufficient due to their non-availability during cloud cover, limited revisit possibility during the crop season and high price.
  • Farmer field coordinates be made mandatory for issuance of insurance policy. This will help in tracking the crop field throughout the crop season without much ground monitoring, and, any kind of loss can readily be verified from satellite data.
  • The committee has recommended pilot surveys that can estimate varying risk profiles for different regions of the country, and that for schemes such as PMFBY, drones are a better bet than satellite imagery.

What are drones:

Drones are aircraft with no pilot on board. Drones can be remote controlled aircraft (e.g. flown by a pilot at a ground control station) or can fly autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans or more complex dynamic automation systems.

Application of drones

Application of drone

How Drones Work

A typical unmanned aircraft is made of light composite materials to reduce weight and increase maneuverability. This composite material strength allows military drones to cruise at extremely high altitudes. Drones are equipped with different state of the art technology such as infra-red cameras(military UAV), GPS and laser (military UAV). Drones can be controlled by remote control system or a ground cockpit. Drones come in a wide variety of sizes, with the large drone mostly used for military purposes such as the Predator drone, other smaller drones which can be launched by hand, to other unmanned aircraft which require short runways. An unmanned aerial vehicle system has two parts, the drone itself and the control system.

The nose of the unmanned aerial vehicle is where all the sensors and navigational systems are present. The rest of the body is complete innovation since there is no loss for space to accommodate humans and also light weight. The engineering materials used to build the drone are highly complex composites which can absorb vibration which decreases the noise produced.

How drones work


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IAS Mains Test series Programme - 2017 (Starting from 16th July)