Indonesia. Agriculture Friendly Drones
By Maria Gaglione
#EoF: the Stories – The story of Albertus Gian Dessayes Adriano, Indonesian engineer and founder of Beehive Drones, a start-up that aims to improve the efficiency of natural resources in agriculture through the technology of agricultural drones.
Published in Avvenire on 25/04/2020
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Gen 2,15). Albertus Gian Dessayes Adriano quotes the Book of Genesis to give us the key to his commitment and work. Albertus is a 27-year-old Indonesian engineer. “Freedom is the greatest gift we have received,” he tells us. We are free to choose the things we want to do. However, we are not always free from the consequences of our actions once they are taken. The awareness of wanting to look after and care for my land led me to co-found Beehive Drones in 2018. Beehive Drones is a start-up offering services based on advanced agricultural drones technology to improve efficiency in the use of natural resources. It works mainly with the owners of large plantations in Indonesia.
Industrial agriculture has spread throughout the planet, and also in Southeast Asia, at a rapid pace, devouring forests and other natural habitats to make way for the often indiscriminate production of agricultural raw materials. Agricultural drones represent one of the approaches of the so-called precision farming, a management strategy that aims to optimize the agricultural yield through sophisticated monitoring tools. Ground sensors, remote sensing equipment and GPS systems make it possible to assess the state of the soil and adopt the most effective cultivation techniques. Today drones are able to guarantee interventions that are sustainable from an environmental point of view. In addition to monitoring crops in real time, the acquisition of accurate aerial views allows to diagnose critical issues related to irrigation, changes in soil conditions and the spread of weeds with great accuracy. In addition, the very precise mechanism of distributing fertilizers and water allows to avoid unnecessary treatments and to reduce costs. Drones are also an interesting solution for combating deforestation or at least limiting damage. Although deforestation is a complex issue and remains a much faster phenomenon than conservation activities, a technology such as drones that allows to control the soil and find the perfect area to host new trees can help new planting processes.
Today Beehive Drones is a company that provides drone systems, IoT sensors (Internet of Things – an expression used to describe the extension of the Internet connection to various types of objects) and monitoring systems. The technology proposed and used has earned the team a place among the world finalists of the Imagine Cup 2018, the international technology competition of Microsoft, designed to implement innovative technological proposals. It surely is an important achievement for Albertus but what really fills him and his team with joy is above all the involvement of their clients in this innovative and sustainable approach in the agricultural sector. “We believe that in an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing world, efficiency and sustainability are crucial aspects. Larger farms soon realised the added value of applying new technologies to a traditional sector like agriculture. The efforts to make sustainable use of natural resources are an investment that brings economic benefits in the medium term. A more innovative approach with less environmental impact can therefore be very profitable. We offer these companies a customized system (drones and IoTs) that adapts to the characteristics of individual companies and responds to different challenges and needs. With this business model we have managed to keep our costs low and keep the company stable. But this is not enough. Beehive Drones also works with small farming communities on the Indonesian islands.
“Our goal is to help as many communities as possible. Today this is possible thanks to donations from generous people. But we know that the initial effort will soon show the potential and benefits of drones to local communities as well.” Therefore, technology oriented towards the sustainable use of natural resources and, more generally, towards safeguarding common goods and solving people’s real problems becomes a valuable ally of a new economy that wants to promote life and take care of the common home. Before saying goodbye to us, Albertus asks us about the health emergency in Italy and tells us that at present his engineers are working on the production of “intelligent sterilization chambers” designed to dispense disinfectant to healthcare workers in an efficient way, together with an app and a database system to keep the stocks of healthcare products under control. The initiative was born to help some local hospitals in Indonesia that were in great difficulty on many fronts following the COVID-19 emergency. “Extraordinary!” – we say. “We’ve only done our small part,” Albertus replies. Small or big, it doesn’t really matter. The time we are living and above all the future that awaits us has an infinite need for this wealth of professions, intelligence and sensitivity.Source: