I've been researching agricultural UAV's overall but im looking for the best benefits on potatoes;
I want to divide this post on 4 different topics that i have not been able to find on any specific site:
1.- best UAV: I believe we do need to consider several aspects:
- fly at least 100 acres per flight (around 50 hectares for us at any metric system country :P) (heli or winged?)
- probably be able to flt 100 mt + heights (to be able to take the least possible pictures at the best possible resolution, remember we are making desitions on this info)
- be Rough enough to withstand harsh conditions (will probably be landing on dirt and such)
- automated UAV for ease of use.
2.- imagery: basically which camera should we use?
- i keep working around 4 different cameras: an RGB combined with a NIR to make NDVI analysis... a Multispectral (which i understand does the same thing but with better red spectrums) thermal cameras and finally DIY modified cameras (like GoPros)
- which camera would do the job? is it worth it working with a camera worth a couple thousend of USD??
3.- Post flight software: i keep going back to pix4d but i find it so expensive so i dont know if agisoft is enough? or maybe look at companies like agribotix for analysis?
4.- real life Use and benefits: i believe this would be the best topic of all: can we really monetize the agricultural UAVs?
- pre sowing work
- during crop analysis (i believe a frequent fly would give enough comparison to take desitions based on this images)
- real life scenarios in which you have beneffited from flying a UAV over your fields :)
i hope this discussion is not so extense that we have to divide it on 4 different topics but please advise...
BTW english is not my first language so sorry if i am writing something wrong :)
I don't have experience with Potatoes specifically, but I'll try to give my opinion on a few things.
1. "best" uav is largely subjective, but if you are confident that your demands involve 100acres or less most of the time, I would go with a multirotor. I prefer fixed wing myself, but that is ONLY because I want to map larger areas.
It's hard to recommend you a specific platform because of the choices, but I like Ardupilot myself. Pixhawk platforms like the Iris, Y6, X8, or 3DR Solo will all be able to do what you're asking.
2. If you're not on a budget (and again, having no experience myself with potatoes), I would get the Micrasense rededge based off hearing first-hand feedback on it's use.
If you ARE on a budget, I've been pretty happy with my experience with the MAPIR camera(s) so far. They have options for single camera setups (NGB) as well as NIR+RGB. There is some ongoing conversation in this group about the capabilities of each, but I'm comfortable saying that the absolute minimum you need to at least get started is a single NIR camera, and MAPIR is the cheapest I've found. Working on testing the results compared to my converted S100.
3. I really like Agribotix, but I wouldn't have ever looked at their service if my computer could handle large jobs. readytodrone also offers custom image processing and I've had great experiences with Brenden. He's definitely capable of doing GIS work beyond normal 2d NDVI. Dronemapper is another service not quite as refined as Agribotix, but they also have good CS.
I like Photoscan myself and have seen it stich some almost unusable flights perfectly, but I'm trying to get set up with Pix4D. I'm hoping it will allow me to process slightly larger jobs myself.
4. That's an ongoing topic, sir. ;)
I'm not specialized in potatoes but my brother's do and I take some pictures time to time, I agree with Mario that a multirrotor is perhaps more usefull for potatoes, specially if you don't have flying experience; a ready to fly, for shure the better choice to beguin, I only disagree with X 8 for this specifed job, props are nearer the floor, the rest I agree including my airplane preference but not for this job, you don't have to cover large areas, you need more space to land and with the multirrotor you can monitored better doing low altitude photos
Spanish is my language too, but you are not going to notice so much my english errors ;)
Thanks a lot for your input.
I have been looking a lot on the LA300 UAV from Lehmann Aviation do you think this might be able to do the job? i find it at a great price (comparing it to other AG UAV's, but im not fully convinced, would you give me some input on this?
i saw the Mapir before but i thought it was a gopro modified camera LOL, so i might go back to check this again, and by your recomendation i probably will be using this camera considering the cost. (btw for the NDVI on Mapir do i need only the NDVI blue? or would i need the visible light too?)
thanks for your input on agribotix... i was convinced y would be doing it by myself but i dont think i have the time nor the equipment to do this... so ill consider agribotix for the processing... (i'll take a look at readytodrone)
and about the real life use i do have a couple of ideas myself, but i want input from other people experience :)
thanks again for your support
Quick response, heading out the door-
No experience with the LA300, hopefully someone else can offer feedback there.
The MAPIR is a modified SJCAM. If you want to use one camera, use the "NDVI Blue+NIR". There are limitations to adapted cameras (better explained in Ned Horning's thread), but this will serve as a good starting point for you.
Hi Cala, thanks for your help ... i do have fields a little bit larger that 100 acres (the largest is around 200 acres) but i think i prefer a winged one, for the time consuming part... after all this would be part of my day :)
what do you think about this lehmann aviation LA300? as i lack experience i dont know if this would do the job (i find it to be just around my budget)
do you think the mapir cameras would do a good job for analyzing details on the fields?
your images look great, did you run NDVI on this images? i would love to see them :)
BTW your english is amazing LOL
Not experience too for that airplane, in this forum you are going to easier find experiences with APM, Pixhawk etc, products from 3DR and clones because they support this forum, perhaps you can find experiences from it in RC Groups, Google it; but my recomendation is try to choose a vehicle with Radio transmitter until is autonomous, if not is like have an automomous tractor without steer (como tener un tractor con autoguiado sin volante comun)
the contrast is amazing... are your brothers using this info? how? thanks for sharing
gracias por la traduccion i wouldnt have understand that :D
thx for your support
Really I use for crops, N fertilizer, etc. I take this photos as ex to show him how he can use and he buy a Phantom to do his own experiences.
The first monitoring step is to fly the crop and find problems, then you walk to the site and visually see and act in consecuence, many times, when you discover a problem in your crops, you have an economic damage, whit this tool you can monitor the hole field in only minutes, that's the first step that you can do and you are going to be surprised how many defects you find in your crops that you don't detect or dimension from the field level, try not to buy expensive UAVs and cameras at the begining, remember that they need to defy gravity laws to fly and, when you are newbie, it's common that gravity wins ;)
For ex ;Looks, before a big rain, water didn't drainage correctly and damage plants in a little sector, that's a future disease focus perhaps and you can prevent around it with extra fungicide?
My airplane is similar like this https://store.3drobotics.com/products/3dr-aero?taxon_id=32 but my own build and older skywalker model but to fly an airplane I recomend you to find someone else to teach you, For me It's easier to begin with a multirotor