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Researchers to deploy drone technology to tackle drought in Jordan

Researchers from the University of Leeds and Hashemite University will utilize drones based on the Internet of Things sensor networks.

[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Given the exceptional drought crisis in Jordan, the University of Leeds and Hashemite University have partnered to deploy technological solutions to combat the impact of recurrent drought episodes by balancing water uses for irrigation, drinking, and industrial needs, according to a statement by the British embassy. 

Irrigation is one of the biggest challenges facing Jordan. 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 both universities have teamed up to develop drones as a fully scalable yet responsive solution to efficient micro-irrigation of dry lands in Jordan. 

Researchers will utilize 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 is working to employ a small number of low-cost, lightweight drones controlled via autopilot to harvest real-time wireless data, such as humidity. Localized energy-efficient soil sensors to monitor and control the micro-irrigation will keep the costs lower than building an expensive and complicated wireless sensor network, according to the statement.

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 collaborate with MARS Robotics to learn from their expertise in developing drone solutions in Jordan. 

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