TOKYO, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) Corp. said Thursday it plans to start a trial of farming support service using drones and artificial intelligence technology.
The company said that it aims to raise crop yield by up to 30 percent with the technological service and will seek to commercialize it in Japan and other Asian countries.
The new service, operating by linking drones to the global positioning satellite system, will help alleviate the serious problem of labor shortage in the Japanese farm industry.
According to the telecommunications company, it will conduct the trial service in a rice field constituting eight hectares in Fukushima Prefecture from late April to March 2021, with the target to commercialize the service in Japan in two years.
The camera-equipped drones will take pictures of rice crops when flying over the farmland, providing materials for the system to analyze along with other information such as temperatures from artificial intelligence technology.
The system helps determine the best timing to add fertilizer and will also be able to provide information about the timing for aerial pesticide spraying after an upgrade, the company said.
NTT attributes its plan to introduce innovative technologies to global warming, which is believed to be bringing new types of insects to farmland, making it difficult to protect crops in time. It is also more difficult to determine the right timing to add fertilizer due to climate change.