Washington State University Partners With UAV Manufacturer On Research

Washington State University Partners With UAV Manufacturer On Research

DJI developed the Agras MG-1 UAV specifically for agriculture. (Photo credit: DJI)

DJI developed the Agras MG-1 UAV specifically for agriculture. (Photo credit: DJI)

Washington State University (WSU) and DJI, a leading manufacturer of UAV and camera technology, will partner on research and use of unmanned aerial systems in precision agriculture.

The company and university will jointly develop methods to improve agriculture with unmanned aerial systems, making farms more efficient, reducing waste, protecting the environment, and increasing crop yields. This is DJI’s first comprehensive partnership with a U.S. university.


“DJI is poised to provide cutting-edge technology in the agricultural industry,” says Dr. Asif Chaudhry, WSU’s Vice President for International Programs. “This partnership expands WSU’s broad international presence and provides a pathway to being a leader in smart systems and sustainable resources research.”

WSU’s Center for Precision & Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), in Prosser, WA, will lead the effort. CPAAS provides the vast agricultural community in the Pacific Northwest with the latest technology for increased farming efficiency and environmentally friendly production.

“We are excited to collaborate with WSU, and recognize their vast experience in aerospace and agricultural applications,” says Romeo Durscher, DJI Director of Education. “Letting educators, students, and researchers work with our hardware and create applications through our Software Development Kit (SDK) will lead to new inventions and better utilization of our platforms, and help a variety of people and industries, from farmers to field workers to consumers.”

“CPAAS is focused on high-impact research outcomes,” says Dr. Qin Zhang, CPAAS Director. “Our facilities, students, and faculty offer DJI significant development capabilities and a unique testing ground.”

Headquartered in Shenzhen, Guongdong, China, DJI is a leader in easy-to-fly unmanned aerial vehicles and aerial photography systems. In 2015, the company released its first drone developed specifically for agriculture, the DJI Agras MG-1.

The two partners are pursuing research collaborations that include:

  • Precision Agriculture: crop stress monitoring, aerial imaging, and precision spraying;
  • Automated UAS platform development and testing for crop loss management, such as bird deterrence and rainwater removal from cherry canopies;
  • Rapid field phenotyping (aerial imaging) of new crop breeding lines; and
  • Development and evaluation of next-generation unmanned aerial systems for agricultural use.

DJI will also study starting a “Global Research Challenge” at WSU, enlisting students and faculty to find solutions to real-world technological problems.

“Given our state’s long history in aerospace innovation and our vast agricultural resources, WSU is well positioned to bridge the gap between these two industries,” says Alex Pietsch, WSU’s Associate Vice President for Corporate Relations. “We are excited to partner with DJI to help bring their transformative technologies to the field and farm.”