Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) for Mitigating Bird Damage in Blueberry

Sponsor Agency: Washington Blueberry Commission

Karkee, M.*, Leachman, J., Taylor, M., and Zhang, Q.

 

UnmannedAerialBirdDamageEvery year, significant fruit yield loss is attributed to bird damage in WA and other parts of the country. The issue is particularly prevalent to Washington and Oregon vineyards but is also a critical issue for cherries and other fruits including blueberries and raspberries. Washington State grape, blueberry, cherry, and Honeycrisp apple farmers lose $80 million annually to bird damage. Netting, auditory scare devices, visual scare devices, chemical applications, and active methods such as trapping, falconry, and lethal shooting are the most common ways that bird control is practiced. However, netting is the only method viewed by most farmers as effective, which also is costly and lethal to a host of wildlife. In this work, we plan to investigate the efficacy of using fixed wing, quadrotor and/or other Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) to deter birds from vineyards. After showing that human-guided UASs can effectively deter birds, our longer term goal is to apply machine learning techniques to autonomously deter birds out of an area.