Affordable Polarimetric LIDAR For Precision Farming

A new project at Aston University aims to revolutionize crop monitoring with a more affordable and efficient version of polarimetric LIDAR. Dr. Sergey Sergeyev, a photonics expert, has received a grant to develop this technology, addressing the limitations of current systems.

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) uses lasers to measure distance and gather information about objects.  Polarimetric LIDAR takes this further by analyzing the polarization of light reflected from plants. This can reveal details about plant health, like water stress or disease presence.

Current polarimetric LIDAR systems are expensive, slow, and have low resolution. Dr. Sergeyev’s project, POLIDAR, aims to overcome these limitations. They’ll work with Fotenix, an agricultural technology company, to develop a cost-effective solution for farmers.

The key lies in a patented AIPT technology that uses a laser emitting multiple pulses with different polarization states. By analyzing the reflected light, POLIDAR can determine plant health indicators like leaf texture and distance. This innovative system will be lightweight and compact due to its all-fiber design, minimizing bulk components.

With the efficient version of polarimetric LIDAR, POLIDAR has the potential to improve agricultural efficiency significantly. As Dr. Sergeyev highlights, the need for increased food production demands innovative solutions. Real-time information about crop health allows for targeted interventions, improving yield and resource management. With POLIDAR, the team is harnessing the power of light to empower farmers and contribute to a more secure food future.

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