TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The University of Texas at Tyler announced on Wednesday they received $191,150 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service.

The grant is meant to enhance drone-based frameworks for imagery and crop monitoring on large farms.

“If successful, the project outcomes can help integrate drones as autonomous surveillance vehicles for the early detection of weeds in large agricultural fields,” Dr. Prabha Sundaravadivel, a UT Tyler assistant professor in electrical and computer engineering, said. “This can significantly reduce the time and labor required for monitoring large agricultural fields. It can also help in improving the overall outcomes for the farmers.”

Sundaravadivel will collaborate with researchers at the USDA-ARS Crop Production Systems Unit in Stoneville, Miss. on the two-year project, according to UT Tyler. They also plan to explore the potential application for prescription-based herbicide spraying.

Her research focuses on developing edge-intelligent systems for environmental sensing applications, application-specific architectures for smart health care, bio-inspired soft robotics and underwater monitoring frameworks. She joined the UT Tyler engineering faculty in 2018.