Recently, mosquitoes have have taken on a greater concern in the public eye worldwide. Mosquitoes have always been a nuisance insect. However, with the recent viral diseases (dengue, zika, malaria, etc.), there is an increasing need to eliminate mosquito populations. Every year, an estimated 390 million dengue infections occur worldwide. Of these, 500,000 cases develop into haemorrhagic dengue fever, which causes up to 25,000 deaths annually worldwide. The governments of the affected countries of Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia are taking action to control the insect, such as programs involving DNA-modified mosquitoes to displace Aedes aegypti (the mosquito species that spreads dengue fever). In addition to dengue fever, mosquitoes are the cause of malaria, West Nile virus and yellow fever epidemics worldwide.
All over the world, government key strategy for mosquitos control is source reduction: detection and removal of breeding habitats and larvae. The Aedes mosquito prefers to breed in stagnant water. One of the most effective ways to break the life cycle of mosquitoes at an early stage is the use of chemicals. These are sprayed either in usual breeding grounds or by attaching special traps for gravid Aedes females (Gravitraps) on hardly accessible environments such as gutters and construction sites. However it is hard to detect such places using ground based cameras and even not possible for high level roof gutters. It is also expensive with qualified manpower to properly reach the breeding area in order to manually place and collect such an amount of Gravitraps.
The Eco-Drone is a drone-based system for detecting exactly such mosquito breeding sites. After the critical area has been located, the system automatically handles the transport, placement, and re-collection of gravitraps at programmed locations at a specified time. This solution is specifically designed for hard-to-reach environments such as gutters and construction sites. The innovation of the solution is based both on the algorithms for detection of mosquito breeding sites, as well as on the drone system for the loading and placement of several mosquito traps.
Eco-Drone consists of 3 technology components:
1.) Software with an algorithm for detection of mosquito breeding sites
2.) 3D mapping and positioning system software
3.) Drones as hardware:
- The underlying technology is based on proprietary visual object detection algorithms. The machine vision algorithm uses matching points and image fragments to determine the location of water accumulation. To achieve this, the picture recognition is composed of consecutive processing of visual information: preprocessing, segmentation, selection of the geometric structure, determination of relative structure and semantics. The main algorithmic approaches are based on histogram transformation, analysis of projections, linear and nonlinear filtering of images, brightness and texture segmentation. From a functional perspective, the detection drone flies over the rooftops, and builds the orthophotomap of scanned territory. Then the algorithms determine the location of water accumulation, calculate the water volume, evaluate the risk level and record the GPS coordinates
- The drone flies over the GPS coordinates, builds the 3D-image of the roofs in order to estimate the feasibility of placement and the place that offers the greatest scope for action for the trap of the sites. The system as well builds the actual map of placed traps for easy pick up.
- Drones are ideal for taking pictures in large bumps and can be precisely controlled.