Year/Course: 2018-2019, Lent 2019

Inventor: Dr. Sohab Sarfraz, Speedy Quarks
Mentor: Kevin Gooding

Global food production needs to increase by 50% by 2050 to meet the expected increase in world population. Precision agriculture is one such technique to better target the use of water, fertiliser and pesticides to the plants that actually need them. This gives better results for the crops and also reduces the farmer’s costs.

Drones can be used to carry out aerial analysis of crops and soils to calculate the crop’s requirements. However existing drones are relatively expensive and require highly-trained operators. This means that precision agriculture is currently only viable for 4% of farms globally, which are located in the developed world.

Speedy Quarks seeks to make precision agriculture available to farmers of all sizes by developing highly miniaturised drones that work together collaboratively using AI. Based on the area of land to be surveyed, the number of micro drones in a swarm can be altered on the go providing both agility and scalability towards fully autonomous field operations.

The question for the i-Team is how to best make these new drones available to farmers to enable them to increase their food production. Which countries should be targeted, and which types of farms have the greatest need for their capabilities.