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A multi-disciplined team is responsible for the development of the Intelligent Spray System. The team members are from USDA-ARS, Clemson University, The Ohio State University, Oregon State University, Texas A & M and The University of Tennessee.


Over the last 10 years, the Intelligent Spray System prototypes have been used for field tests in Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina and the Napa Valley in California. These sprayers are being trialed in ornamental nurseries, peach orchards, apple orchards, vineyards, blueberry fields, raspberry fields, nut orchards and greenhouse crops.


A Few Key Articles:

Digger: “Passing the intelligence test” Research shows Intelligent Spray Systems deliver healthy plants with fewer pesticides.  By Robin Rosettaclick here for the article.


CFAES Stories: “They made the World’s First “Intelligent Sprayer” – Its results are “no less than astounding.”  By Chip, Tuson click here for the article. 


Michigan Farm News: “One-of-a-kind ‘Intelligent’ sprayer being developed in Ohio by Erdal Ozkan, Ohio State University Professor and Extension Ag Engineer  …Results were very impressive. The intelligent sprayer reduced airborne spray drift by up to 87 percent and reduced spray loss on the ground by 68 to 93 percent compared to a conventional sprayer. click here for the article.


AgResearch Magazine: "A team of Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and university scientists have developed a new laser-guided spraying system that controls spray outputs to match targeted tree structures." Read more here.


AgResearch Magazine: “Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in several locations are at the forefront of innovative new technologies in orchard management.” Click here to for the article.

Overall advantages of the intelligent sprayer as compared to conventional sprayers include*:

  • Less chance of over-spraying pesticides

  • An appropriate amount of spray use depending on varying growth stages

  • More consistent spray deposition uniformity inside canopies at different growth stages

  • Better spray trajectory control


*Intelligent Sprayer Reduces Pesticide Use, Off-target Contamination


Click here for more information.

Select academic articles show effectiveness by crop:


Apple Orchards

Spray Deposition Inside Tree Canopies From A Newly Developed Variable-Rate Air-Assisted Sprayer by Y. Chen, H. E. Ozkan, H. Zhu, R. C. Derksen, C. R. Krause

Abstract: … Compared to constant-rate sprayers, the new variable-rate sprayer only consumed 27% to 53% of the spray mixture while still achieving adequate spray coverage inside the canopies…  resulting in reduced spray costs…  click here for the article


Ornamental Nursery Trees

Development of LIDAR-guided sprayer to synchronize spray outputs with canopy structures. By Chen, Y., H. Zhu, H.E. Ozkan

Abstract: … the intelligent sprayer with automatic control provided relatively uniform spray coverage and deposition inside canopies with different foliage densities at different growth stages. In addition, compared to the other two sprayers, the intelligent sprayer with automatic control reduced spray volume by 47% to 73% with a much less off-target loss on the ground, through tree gaps and in the air. click here for the article


Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew Control and Spray Application Characteristics of A Laser-Guided Sprayer. By Amy Fulcher, Jeff McHugh, Heping Zhu, Robert Collier, Wesley Wright, and Whitney Yeary  

Abstract: … Drift coverage was reduced 63.5%, spray volume reduced by 53.7% compared to the conventional sprayer, a 66% cost reduction from using the intelligent sprayer. (Available in October)


Grape Grower

Preliminary data presented by Dr. Heping Zhu and Mr. Lee Klingshirn at the 2018 Ohio Grape and Wine Conference showed a 58% savings over the conventional sprayer for fungicide and insecticide applications on Klingshirn Winery tests in 2017. (More research coming soon)


The research team has produced several hundred Publications, Journal Articles, Conference Papers, and Presentations.  An overview can be found here

2018 CFAES Innovator of the Year Award

47 Peer Reviewed  Scientific Publications and Journals

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