11 Jul 2016
Loughborough University engineers selected to safeguard and develop China’s sustainable agriculture
A £1 million project to boost sustainable agriculture in China is being led by aerospace engineers at Loughborough University.
Professor Wen-Hua Chen and his research team from the Department of Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering are part of an international consortium selected to gain a greater understanding of plant science, pest and disease by collecting large amounts of observation data to boost farming resilience and food security.
As the global population continues to grow, China and other countries have been developing technologies to help evaluate soil and crop health in a bid to increase food production, and ultimately help produce more for less.
To ensure that the rising demand for food can be met, Professor Chen and his colleagues Dr Cunjia Liu and Dr Hyondong Oh are researching how to improve unmanned autonomous ground and air vehicles – such as fixed wing aircraft or quadrotors – in order to fulfil remote data collection requirements. This includes relaying timely and repetitive information about crops spanning a wide area, and enabling the technologies to be operated with less expertise.
The project titled Enabling wide area persistent remote sensing for agriculture applications has been jointly funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council under the Newton Fund.
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 The UK partners include Cranfield University, the University of Manchester, and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) EMR. The China partners are Beijing Aerospace Automatic Control Institute and Beihang University (BUAA).