SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 25 November 2019

Ground-Operation Awareness Beacon for Aerial Pesticide Application


Aerial application of agrochemicals is often conducted in mixed cropping systems where a variety of crops can be in close spatial proximity (e.g., vineyard or orchard crops near field crops). Workers visually obscured in crop canopies, or the use of remotely pilot (“unmanned”) aircraft, can create potential conflicts that can be difficult for pilots to visually detect, indicating the need for an improvement of signaling capacities by ground operations. Such signaling may be achieved by lighted aviation-style beacons capable of attracting pilot attention at a useful distance during typical spray visibility conditions. This work developed an implementation of a portable, self-sufficient groundworker-aerial awareness beacon (GAAB). To characterize the performance of the GAAB, system parameters such as beam angle, rotation timing, and elevation angle limits were modeled to determine visibility conditions with respect to a moving observer. The GAAB was observed by a remotely piloted aircraft in static and dynamic field trials, successfully validating the spatial and dynamic aspects of the model. An accurate model of the visibility of systems such as the GAAB allows for the optimization of a deployable product, as well as providing a basis for further investigation into the capabilities of similar systems.

Author Information

Singh, Wayland
Dept. of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, US
Giles, Durham
Dept. of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of California Davis, Davis, CA, US
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Developed by Committee: E35
Pages: 9–23
DOI: 10.1520/STP161920180072
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7685-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7684-3