The use of unmanned aerial vehicles and wireless sensor networks for spraying pesticides

Bruno S. Faiçal, Fausto G. Costa, Gustavo Pessin*, Jó Ueyama, Heitor Freitas, Alexandre Colombo, Pedro H. Fini, Leandro Villas, Fernando S. Osório, Patrícia A. Vargas, Torsten Braun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


The application of pesticides and fertilizers in agricultural areas is of crucial importance for crop yields. The use of aircrafts is becoming increasingly common in carrying out this task mainly because of their speed and effectiveness in the spraying operation. However, some factors may reduce the yield, or even cause damage (e.g., crop areas not covered in the spraying process, overlapping spraying of crop areas, applying pesticides on the outer edge of the crop). Weather conditions, such as the intensity and direction of the wind while spraying, add further complexity to the problem of maintaining control. In this paper, we describe an architecture to address the problem of self-adjustment of the UAV routes when spraying chemicals in a crop field. We propose and evaluate an algorithm to adjust the UAV route to changes in wind intensity and direction. The algorithm to adapt the path runs in the UAV and its input is the feedback obtained from the wireless sensor network (WSN) deployed in the crop field. Moreover, we evaluate the impact of the number of communication messages between the UAV and the WSN. The results show that the use of the feedback information from the sensors to make adjustments to the routes could significantly reduce the waste of pesticides and fertilizers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-404
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Systems Architecture
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Agricultural applications
  • Architecture
  • Control loop
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software


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