When you soon see drones fly over the vineyards of Burgenland, it will not be for romantic photos or scenic film footage, but in the name of science. The RSA FG is part of the Europe-wide Comp4Drones project to use drones for smart and precision farming.

Agriculture feeds us and generates our livelihoods – but from an environmental and climate protection perspective, new types of resource-saving agricultural technologies are needed to protect our planet and ensure long-term food production. This is where the concept of precision farming comes in: This digitally supported agriculture manages land in a targeted manner, thus relieving the ecological burden on the soil.

drone flying over vineyards

Drones detect diseases and (sub-)optimal conditions

The use of drones in agriculture enables a more effective view of fields or vineyards and thus provides precise evaluations. By combining measurements from land-based sensors and multispectral images from the drone, the condition of the vines can be monitored and certain diseases, but also water or nutrient deficiencies, can be detected at an early stage. At the same time, the use of the vineyards can be optimised and the optimal time for harvesting can be determined.

The often remote and poorly connected infrastructure in the vineyards means that broadband internet is not available everywhere – the small sensors would also need a lot of energy for such a connection. The drone therefore collects its data directly from the sensors with only a sporadic connection.

A specially tailored Internet of Things framework allows the secure integration of the different components (drone, sensors, base station) and the establishment of the “chain of trusts”, as described in an initial publication. This ensures that only valid data is retrieved, damaged sensors are detected, only authorised components participate in communication and secure communication is established.


An EU project with a wide range of applications

Comp4Drones is an ECSEL JU project coordinated by the Spanish company Indra, which brings together a consortium of European partners to provide a framework of key technologies for safe and autonomous drones. The aim is to build a holistic, open drone ecosystem from application to electronic components. The development of new drone functions for different application areas – such as agriculture, infrastructure inspection or transport – is to be facilitated.

From Austria, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), Forschung Burgenland, Infineon Technologies Austria, Weingut Moravitz and Skyability are also supporting the project in the area of digital intelligence with the RSA FG. – The Comp4Drones demonstrator for smart and precision farming has already been presented during a first excursion to the vineyards of Burgenland.

Project Completion

In the meantime, the Comp4Drones project has been brought to a successful conclusion, is published and, as can be seen in the video below, the developed technology is already being applied in practice.