INNOVATORS plan to manufacture drones that will revolutionise sustainable farming in Wales after successful trials at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi.
The ‘Green Eagle’ drone was able to identify weeds and on-land issues before targeting them with pesticides, saving time, money and providing a carbon-neutral alternative to existing methods.
Led by Anglesey-based M-SParc in partnership with tenants AerialWorx and Fortytwoable – who built the AI (Artificial Intelligence) model – and BIC Innovation, the project was supported by Ambition North Wales.
Dewi Jones, Farm Manager at Coleg Cambria Llysfasi, said: “I was delighted to see the progress made in producing and adapting the Green Eagle over the relatively short period of time we had working with the partners.
“It is now an advanced piece of equipment that can perform what was envisaged at the start of the project, which shows just what can be achieved when forward-thinking people from different backgrounds and disciplines work on new ideas and concepts that come together to form a new product.”
He added: “The current and future potential applications for the Green Eagle in agriculture are wide and varied and I wish the companies well in taking their achievements and ideas forward into what will undoubtedly be a world that will demand a productive and sustainable farming industry fit for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.”
M-SParc revealed proposals are in place to move to phase three following the success of the trials.
A spokesperson said: “This was a fantastic example of tenant collaboration and Fortytwoable and BIC Innovation are now working on a commercialisation plan in light of Fortytwoable identifying a new commercial opportunity as a direct result of this project.”
Dyfed Morgan, Life Cycle Assessment Officer and Sustainability Champion at M-SParc, added: “As part of our work we carried out a Life Cycle Assessment to investigate the environmental impacts and footprint associated with all stages of the project.
“The result of our assessment showed embodied carbon emitted for the drones is 131 times lower across their life cycle than a traditional tractor to carry out the same work, reinforcing the merits of this project from a carbon footprint perspective.”
Robyn Lovelock, manager of the North Wales Growth Deal’s agri-food and tourism programme, said: “The Green Eagle was one of three fantastic Agri-initiatives we were delighted to deliver with Coleg Cambria through the Welsh Government’s Whole System Business Research Innovation for Decarbonisation Challenge.
“Based at Llysfasi, these new systems will be further developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agriculture sector and provide much-needed support for the transition to decarbonisation.
“We look forward to seeing how these projects develop in the future and feel confident how they will help the agricultural sector in the region.”
Visit www.cambria.ac.uk for more news and information from Coleg Cambria.
For more news and information from M-SParc, visit www.m-sparc.com.