Herbicide Dispenser

Aerial image of algae

June 2021 - August 2021

Abstact submitted to 2021 International Mechatronics Conference:

Floating Yellow Heart is an invasive plant species that has grown freely in Lake Carl Blackwell outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma. It has been choking out local wildlife and could potentially spread into the drinking water taken from the lake. Since 2019, the Unmanned Systems Research Institute (USRI) and the Environmental Science department at OSU have worked together to effectively fight the Floating Yellow Heart by monitoring its spread and using the herbicide ProcellaCOR. However due to environmental conditions, several areas of the lake were difficult to reach by boat or person. To effectively eliminate the Floating Yellow Heart, the Environmental Science department tasked the USRI to come up with a solution to reach the areas that were not accessible by boat.

side view of version 2

A solution to this problem was to use an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to dispense the herbicide from the air, as it is not limited by the obstacles in the lake. A DJI M600 was outfitted with a custom-made mount to hold a 3-liter container, a pump, a relay switch, and tubing; the herbicide is dispensed directly beneath the UAV through a nozzle at a rate of 1 liter per minute. The pump is remotely controlled by the operator by providing and cutting off its power. This design was chosen with weight in mind, as the DJI M600 has a maximum payload of 10 lbs. The tubing system ensures that the herbicide being dispensed is not affected by the downwash of the propellers. As of July 15th, 2021, the initial testing phase of the UAV is complete. The next phase will consist of applying the herbicide in the lake at the specific areas.

Contributors include: Dr. Jamey Jacob, Omar Abouzahr, Peter Ramsdale, Andrew Cole, Taylor Mitchell, Victoria Natalie

Presented on October 1, 2021 in the 2021 International Mechatronics Conference, Oklahoma State University

Herbicide dispenser front view version 1 payload mounted on drone