Experience using a Quadcopter/Hexacopter setup for agricultural imaging/farm use?

Hello

I am looking at buying/building a hexacopter for farm use. Looking to use a multispectral camera on it (like the parrot sequoia, agrobotix or agrocam).

I need at least a 20min flight time. Payload is not that heavy. Those cameras together with gimbal should not weigh more than 1kg.

I was looking to build one based on the Tarot frames. 

While researching I found this built which pretty much matches what I thought would be fit for my purpose:

http://www.droneshop.biz/multirotors/hexacopters/tarot-680pro-serie...

Does anyone have any experience with this type of built for farm use?

Or any experience with any frame for farm use?

Maybe you can suggest a better solution than the one I found?

Any input is much appreciated.

Thank you

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I tend to like sky hero spyder better . Also using the camera boom on the skyhero allows me to switch out camera quicker and less worries about CG . If you are looking to fly for farming you might look into slant range or one that has the ability calibrate while flying . Calibration is important when it come nvdi .

I build two Tarot 650 cuadcopters for farm use, one flyes 20' with more payload capability and other 30-35' min with less. nice frame

That's not a bad price for a fully built Tarot 680 Pro. The hexacopter fits your flight time and payload needs. Here is mine all set up and ready for aerial video. For mapping, you may want to consider retracts like those on the Tarot 650 Sport quadcopter.

i saw the spyder 6 frame. very nice but too expensive for me. 

slant range also looks very good. the analytics package a bit too highly priced for my purpose.

sequoia also has a light sensor to calibrate as it flies.

do you use slant range? if so, for how long? and how do you find their analytics? (they seem like overkill to me)


andrew cutter said:

I tend to like sky hero spyder better . Also using the camera boom on the skyhero allows me to switch out camera quicker and less worries about CG . If you are looking to fly for farming you might look into slant range or one that has the ability calibrate while flying . Calibration is important when it come nvdi .

good to know. 

do you use your drone for mapping?

what gimbal do you have/recommend?

thanks

Greg Covey said:

That's not a bad price for a fully built Tarot 680 Pro. The hexacopter fits your flight time and payload needs. Here is mine all set up and ready for aerial video. For mapping, you may want to consider retracts like those on the Tarot 650 Sport quadcopter.

can you please describe how you use your quadcopters for your farm?

what kind of imagery? cameras, etc?

thank you

Cala said:

I build two Tarot 650 cuadcopters for farm use, one flyes 20' with more payload capability and other 30-35' min with less. nice frame

when slantrange  became apart of Drone deploy app library this meant for me that i could use drone deploy as my base software . use slantrange  as my camera . Aglytix as my analytical software  (in theory) / also apart of drone deploy library. Aglytix give the farmer the info that he needs in simply graph terms . A big plus . Drone deploy might be where you want start. Slantrange doesn't require the overlap that a majority of the companies require . which mean more acres covered and  less processing (done on board the copter / stitching ) .  Drone deploy will be offering an app for crop insurance ( a plus for me ) . If you are starting out maybe DJI (prices droping all the time) . Flight time ? Ability to handle wind ? may be a problem . Sequioa would be my alternative camera . Fits both quad copter and fixed wing . I'm still waiting on an in depth review of slant range - non bias . The one of the biggest head winds is the cost . Whether this be the copter or software or processing (stitching) . Their software seems to be a basic GIS software .

RT said:

i saw the spyder 6 frame. very nice but too expensive for me. 

slant range also looks very good. the analytics package a bit too highly priced for my purpose.

sequoia also has a light sensor to calibrate as it flies.

do you use slant range? if so, for how long? and how do you find their analytics? (they seem like overkill to me)


andrew cutter said:

I tend to like sky hero spyder better . Also using the camera boom on the skyhero allows me to switch out camera quicker and less worries about CG . If you are looking to fly for farming you might look into slant range or one that has the ability calibrate while flying . Calibration is important when it come nvdi .

I use the Canon S100 Gimbal and Mount Kit from BirdsEyeView Aerobotics on my FireFLY6 VTOL, Ranger EX QuadPlane, and Tarot MRCs. The gimbal mount is based on the Feiyu Tech Ultra G3 gimbal mount so I can swap planes and cameras. One S100 is for visual spectrum and another for NGB for NDVI. Good quality but inexpensive DIY solutions.


RT said:

good to know. 

do you use your drone for mapping?

what gimbal do you have/recommend?

thanks

A modified camera won't give you the accuracy or quality that you really want . Good place to start to learn on or if you are on a really strict budget . But i wouldn't bet the farm on it or use it to make decision on . The chip they use is not the best design for nvdi for agriculture .  Their is no way around this right now . I've seen the prices drop quite a bit over the last two years of the camera you really need to use . My understanding that the software companies that offer subscription based system , allow you to rent them for short period of time ( the way i go until prices drop alot ) . As far as size of copter i would go 750 or large for line of sight . I seen people paint them orange to make them more visible . Sky hero allow to you modified the copter to a larger one . So if you go with their 650 size you can always enlarged it later. I've even seen as of the last two week more ag analytic software companies coming on line.  So i'm guessing prices will be dropping soon .

thank you, good info. 

the FireFLY6 looks great, a little expensive for me to start with.

the Ranger EX Quad conversion looks really good. Can you fit both S100 cameras on the Ranger?

Also what area are you able to photograph with your planes and MRC? 

I am looking to cover 50Ha (btw i am based in Europe) to start with. Ideally it should not take more than 3 hours of field work.

The s100s look like a nice good value solution for ndvi. I also found http://www.agrocam.eu/ . good prices.

Do you use pix4 software to process the images? I found that the software for processing/analysis can be quite expensive.


Greg Covey said:

I use the Canon S100 Gimbal and Mount Kit from BirdsEyeView Aerobotics on my FireFLY6 VTOL, Ranger EX QuadPlane, and Tarot MRCs. The gimbal mount is based on the Feiyu Tech Ultra G3 gimbal mount so I can swap planes and cameras. One S100 is for visual spectrum and another for NGB for NDVI. Good quality but inexpensive DIY solutions.


RT said:

good to know. 

do you use your drone for mapping?

what gimbal do you have/recommend?

thanks

keeping track of all the software for analysis is quite a challenge. they are also intertwined like you say. this industry is dynamic.

agribotix has some demonstrations of drone deploy use with a phantom 3 and their camera solutions. 

was not convinced by the phantom 3 as I need to cover 50Ha initally in as little time as possible. but Drone deploy looked viable for a trial. thanks for your suggestion.

so slantrange does it with less than 60% overlap? thats quite helpful of course.

I am not sure how it compares to the sequoia and the rededge. it is priced in between at $4k.

i was thinking to use this as a starter: http://www.agrocam.eu/cameras. maybe its better than it seems.

aglytix looks good. slantview looks good but at a price. like you said, it advertises only 20% overlap.

so you are using a spyder 6 frame with rededge that you rent and process on dronedeploy?

what area do you survey? and do you have a few seasons worth of data on the same land plots? would be interesting to know if doing this whole imaging thing actually helps with crop management.



andrew cutter said:

when slantrange  became apart of Drone deploy app library this meant for me that i could use drone deploy as my base software . use slantrange  as my camera . Aglytix as my analytical software  (in theory) / also apart of drone deploy library. Aglytix give the farmer the info that he needs in simply graph terms . A big plus . Drone deploy might be where you want start. Slantrange doesn't require the overlap that a majority of the companies require . which mean more acres covered and  less processing (done on board the copter / stitching ) .  Drone deploy will be offering an app for crop insurance ( a plus for me ) . If you are starting out maybe DJI (prices droping all the time) . Flight time ? Ability to handle wind ? may be a problem . Sequioa would be my alternative camera . Fits both quad copter and fixed wing . I'm still waiting on an in depth review of slant range - non bias . The one of the biggest head winds is the cost . Whether this be the copter or software or processing (stitching) . Their software seems to be a basic GIS software .

RT said:

i saw the spyder 6 frame. very nice but too expensive for me. 

slant range also looks very good. the analytics package a bit too highly priced for my purpose.

sequoia also has a light sensor to calibrate as it flies.

do you use slant range? if so, for how long? and how do you find their analytics? (they seem like overkill to me)


andrew cutter said:

I tend to like sky hero spyder better . Also using the camera boom on the skyhero allows me to switch out camera quicker and less worries about CG . If you are looking to fly for farming you might look into slant range or one that has the ability calibrate while flying . Calibration is important when it come nvdi .

Slant range and red edge are price about  the same . You get higher resolution , less over lap required (which means more acre covered and more images )  , on board processing and the ability to analyze the picture with your laptop vs going to the cloud with red edge to have it process and analyze. You save processing cost vs the red edge . one of the problems with slant range for me is mounting it to the quad copter . I would have to have a custom made gimbal (current their isn't one available ) . I have a farmer friend fields to learn on . wheat , soybean and corn . Its important to have a few season under you belt . The ability to compare different years helps you to know how  good of job you are doing or not . Store the images in the cloud is a must . nvdi images take up alot of memory. Crop management . - helps with inputs (roi) , plant stress ,  pests , cuts down ground truthing or crop scouting , predict what type of harvest you might have , helps with crop damage from storm (nvdi helps with getting the real damage cause to your crops , not what your eyes can only see ) .

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