A consortium of Japanese, Rwandan, and US partners is developing a proof-of-concept application of drones to agriculture in Rwanda. Working at a farm near Kigali, Rwanda they are developing drone applications to understand the operational and economic aspects of agricultural drones. One key aspect of the project is to study the impact of the drones and the drone activity on the people in the surrounding areas as well as the farm workers working on the project. In addition, they would like to understand the economics of the activity and longer term business models. Penn State students will work with Carnegie Mellon Africa students to develop these models. Students in this project will need to have a broad interest in understanding the different engineering, agricultural, business, and social factors that will make agricultural drones a success in developing countries. Language requirements: English is sufficient.
In 2019 students interviewed farm workers and adjacent community members to understand their perceptions, concerns, and hopes for both aerial (UAVs) and ground vehicles (UGVs). That research contributes to knowledge of public perceptions of drones in agriculture by considering the attitudes of people most likely to be directly affected by drones. It also provides a comparison between ground and aerial modes, which are likely to raise different concerns as well as hopes for functionalities.
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