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Researchers use drones in Immokalee to spot diseases in farm crops

Researchers are using drones in Immokalee to help look for diseases in our crops. They are hoping the drones can give us a sharper image and clearer picture, so our food is safe to consume.

UF/IFAS researchers are testing out both drones and artificial intelligence technology to spot diseases in tomatoes.

“After we collect some data,” said Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis, an assistant professor at UF/IFAS SWFREC, “we’ll evaluate our AI-based models and then this technology will be available to the growers to use for early detection of these diseases.”

Researchers collect data from healthy and unhealthy tomatoes and train artificial intelligence models to recognize trouble spots in a field. While the technology is not ready just yet, they still stress early detection is key to combating these diseases.

“Maybe in the future, we’ll get better batteries…It will be for a longer time, that will be very valuable, so in this case, you can’t fly for one hour,” said Dr. Jaafar Abdulridha, Research Associate at UF/IFAS SWFREC s

It is imperative to protect our food, farmers and Florida’s economy.

“We need to detect the disease at a very early stage so we can control it,” said Dr. Yiannis Ampatzidis, an assistant professor at UF/IFAS SWFREC.

Reporter:Stephanie Byrne
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