Friday, August 17 2018

VietNamNews

Drones save farmers’ lives

Update: March, 10/2018 - 19:00
An A16 drone weighs only 22 kg. Each costs from VNĐ 165 million (US$7,200) to 368 million ($16,200) depending on the amount of pesticide that it can carry.
Viet Nam News

Spraying against pests can be a difficult job for farmers.

The chemicals that are used are so dangerous that many farmers die every year from breathing them into their lungs.

It is therefore very useful for them to have drones doing the spraying instead of them having to do it by hand.

After Tết it is the time to spray custard apples.

by Hồng Vân

About 1,700ha of custard apples are growing in Lục Nam District in the northern province of Bắc Giang. After Tết (Lunar New Year festival), growers will have to spray pesticides by hand to prevent spider mites from damaging the crop.

“Not many pests bother custard apples, so we just need to spray once, yet we are still concerned about its effect on health as sprayers are directly exposed to the pesticide,” said Bùi Văn Quang from Lục Nam District.

For other agricultural produce, including rice, oranges and lychees, farmers need to spray regularly to get rid of pests.

According to the General Department of Preventive Medicine in Việt Nam, pesticide inhalation kills more than 300 farmers in Việt Nam each year and seriously affects another 5,000.

To prevent poisoning and reduce work, mechanical engineer Lê Phi Cường and his team have developed a flying drone that can accurately spray crops.

The device, named A16, carries a 10-litre pesticide tank that can cover one hectare at a time. It takes more than half an hour for an A16 to finish the work. This is about 30 times faster than through manual spraying.

Drones can be used on slopes growing plants up to 20m that are not suitable for manual spraying. Farmers can operate the drone via a mobile phone with an application interface. The faster coverage is especially useful in controling insects and diseases in time.

An A16 drone weighs only 22kg. Each costs from VNĐ165 million (US$7,200) to VNĐ368 million ($16,200) depending on the amount of pesticide that it can carry.

“We aim for cheap, easy-to-use and easy-to-maintain techniques in Việt Nam,” said Cường.

The A16 is equipped with six to eight propellors to make sure it can return home if problems arise. If the drone encounters an obstacle, the sensor will make it stop about three to five metres in front of it. The drone can also maintain a particular height despite the field surface - on flat land or mountain terraces.

Cường had an early interest in aviation and airplanes. When he was small, his family lived near Hà Nội Children’s Palace, where children could join a range of culture and arts activities and classes.

“Every time I visited the palace, I would see various aeroplane models. I loved them. The special interest in aviation devices lingered in my mind as I grew up,” Cường added.

This passion led him to the Aviation Club in the city, a platform where members share not only their hobbies, but also knowledge about planes, drones and aviation.

“Joining the club, I had chance to meet people who shared my passion. We taught ourselves and shared the knowledge with each other,” said Cường.

Specialised knowledge and practical experience gained from field trips, together with flying experiences and a good understanding of mechanics and aviation devices, enabled Cường to launch the drone project in 2015.

He has welded 18 years’ experience in cultivation and plant protection with that of Phạm Quốc Chiến, who has 20 years experience in electronics, and Phạm Quang Thành, a major in Business Administration. They are all from the aviation club.

Other members of the group are Nguyễn Hải Nam, who is a Control Engineering Technology and Automation major, Tạ Huy Phương, who is major in International Trade, and Bùi Văn Minh, who excels in Information Technology.

Each is in charge of different tasks – automation, software, design, engineering – as well as evaluating market impact and demand.

“Drones have recently become popular in Việt Nam. I want to give farmers the opportunity to access high-tech farming machines and devices,” said Cường.

The biggest challenge for the team is to obtain a licence for the drone. In Việt Nam, when one wants to fly any aviation device, they need to ask for permission from the authorities.

Before putting the product on the market, Cường and his team will work with leaders from the University of Agriculture and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and other authorities to see if the licence procedure can be dropped.

“Each device has limits set on flying heights and scope of operations to make sure they doesn’t enter areas prohibited by the Ministry of Defence,” said Cường. 

The drone was displayed in the AgriTech sector at the TechFest 2017, hosted by Ministry of Science and Technology, last November. VNS


 

GLOSSARY

About 1,700ha of custard apples are growing in Lục Nam District in the northern province of Bắc Giang. After Tết (Lunar New Year festival), growers will have to spray pesticides by hand to prevent spider mites from damaging the crop.

Pesticides are chemicals farmers spray on crops to get rid of pests.

To prevent something means to stop it from happening.

Spider mites are a type of very small spider that lives in the ground.

“Not many pests bother custard apples, so we just need to spray once, yet we are still concerned about its effect on health as sprayers are directly exposed to the pesticide,” said Bùi Văn Quang from Lục Nam District.

Concerned means worried.

To be exposed to pesticide means to have no protection against it touching you.

For other agricultural produce, including rice, oranges and lychees, farmers need to spray regularly to get rid of pests.

Regularly means often.

According to the General Department of Preventive Medicine in Việt Nam, pesticide inhalation kills more than 300 farmers in Việt Nam each year and seriously affects another 5,000.

Inhalation means breathing in.

To prevent poisoning and reduce work, mechanical engineer Lê Phi Cường and his team have developed a flying drone that can accurately spray crops.

Accurately here means on target.

The device, named A16, carries a 10-litre pesticide tank that can cover one hectare at a time.

A hectare is a measurement of land size.

This is about 30 times faster than through manual spraying.

Manual means by hand.

 “We aim for cheap, easy-to-use and easy-to-maintain techniques in Việt Nam,” said Cường.

To maintain something means to keep it in working order. Techniques are ways of doing things.

If the drone encounters an obstacle, the sensor will make it stop about three to five metres in front of it.

An obstacle is something that is in the way.

A sensor is something on a device that picks up any obstacle and tells the drone about it being there.

 “The special interest in aviation devices lingered in my mind as I grew up,” Cường added.

Lingered means hung around.

This passion led him to the Aviation Club in the city, a platform where members share not only their hobbies, but also knowledge about planes, drones and aviation.

If you have a passion for something you do not mind how much time and money you spend on it.

Each is in charge of different tasks – automation, software, design, engineering – as well as evaluating market impact and demand.

Evaluating means working out.

Market impact is the effect it has on the market.

Demand is the amount people want something.

The biggest challenge for the team is to obtain a licence for the drone. 

Obtain means get.

In Việt Nam, when one wants to fly any aviation device, they need to ask for permission from the authorities.

Aviation means to do with flying.

 “Each device has limits set on flying heights and scope of operations to make sure they doesn’t enter areas prohibited by the Ministry of Defence,” said Cường.

If something is prohibited it is not allowed.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search:

  1. A fruit that farmers need to spray.
  2. A type of building that Lê Phi Cường lived near as a child.
  3. A device that can be used to operate a drone.
  4. The trade in which Phạm Quốc Chiến has twenty years’ experience.
  5. A type of apple.

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Oranges; 2. Palace; 3. Phone; 4. Electronics; 5. Custard.

 

 

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