The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project is to improve the current spraying practices in agriculture. Inefficient crop spraying causes drift which can lead to crop damage or unwanted pesticide use in neighboring non-target crop areas. It may contaminate nearby bodies of water or be an issue for human health. Our company would solve this through the implementation of a closed loop sensor system which would remotely determine the efficiency of sprayer machines and the spray pattern of the material continuously and in real time. Farmers will benefit through reduced costs of wasted materials resulting from over-spraying, while feeling safe against pest and fungus infestation resulting from under-spraying. The initial intended customers are large orchards, vineyards and tree farms. Those farmers generally use airblast sprayers which are highly inefficient and waste about 45% of the material. Those chemicals either hit the ground and contaminate it or pollute the air. An owner of a large farm that implements our proposed device will save a significant amount on chemical costs and also avoids the consequences due to drift of chemicals onto neighboring farms, public roads, or non-agricultural areas. <br/><br/>This SBIR Phase I project proposes to introduce a new technology to the agricultural sector. This technology has been previously built for complex and sophisticated applications in mostly academia and government sectors. We look to provide a new functionality while reducing the size and cost of the technology. It would be used as a new and improved method of calibration, replacing a tedious and often ignored current process. Furthermore, the sensor would be integrated as a closed loop system for autonomous sprayer adjustments. A complete software solution would accompany the hardware in order to make it approachable to the non-scientific community. This project will prove the potential of our technology as a competitive player in the rapidly growing ag-tech field.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
SBIR Phase I: Smart Sensor for Precision Agriculture
Atolla Tech LLC