Commercial use of drones in farms and other agriculture

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  • The issue is the hardware itself. Poor quality digital imaging sensors create these gaps, miscues, and poor data results. With the proper imaging sensor, lenses, camera electronics designed specifically for the application there is no need to correct for clouds, light breaks, even bad weather.

    This is the real issue with the current hardware being used. Consumer grade imaging sensors, cameras, and lenses are not made for quality data, they are made to take pretty pictures.

    No matter what camera being used, Canon, Sony, Nikon, etc that has had its Visible filter removed and replaced with something else, you still have a consumer grade sensor, lens, electronics. 

  • Wow - great article RIchard Burd! Thanks for sharing!

  • Realtime image analysis is currently in use, has been for some time. We support several cameras with embedded computers, both MS & Linux. Image processing is onboard, using wide bandwidth wireless, realtime processed images cuts flight time as well.

    Instead of multiple flights to build a data base, data can be achieved in a single pass.


  • Hi .. Name Leo Currently Sanae Base Antarctica. Transforming Electric Glider to Drone. Saw same requirements in NAM few months ago. Like to get involved.

  • To Milan, we are actively doing research on toxic algae blooms at Kansas State University, including the determination of algae density using small unmanned systems. This video demonstrates such a flight:

    The video was shot at a site where we have a COA.
    The coverage is limited by the duration of the aircraft and the typical regulatory restrictions of flying line of sight.
  • Milan, the algae was NVDI using a Sony cybershot with custom filter and lense. Really big and heavy cam, old tech, but cheap. That was done about 7 years ago. The study was of the rain runoff and its impact on the bloom. I don't understand your question on the 40 acres. The camera captures that much acreage per photo and they are patched together back at the office. The critical issue was that the photos be straight down and not angled at all. This required piezo gyro stabilization back in the day. Now the ardupilot can take care of that. In actual field deployment, simple equated to flexible and reliable. I know this is bad news for the robotics, autonomous types but we found a GPS downlink to a laptop, stabilization gyros, and a manually triggered camera worked most reliably. More autonomy than that and we were fighting the glitches, wind, radio links, etc. i am not yet convinced autopilots and automated camera track and triggering are needed or reliable. We continue to test and modify but often uncover weaknesses in field use. Keep it simple and build on that.
  • Hi Micheal, I would like to become more involved in this field it interests me. Regarding algae blooms do you use NVDI? Also is the monitoring of these purely for the benchmarking of treatments? Also 40 acres is 0.2km^2 and this entails whats kind of flight path? Is it perimeter or sectional?

  • To Milan below, we have flown algae blooms, 3D model generation of micro topography using images, marijuana detection, stress in mint crops, drought damage, underground tile location, effects on bio mass with and without fungicide application for Monsanto, effects of weed shading on new plant growth, and several generic health evaluations of corn and soybean crops. We do 40 acres at a time, IR and color. Purdue University is a leader in image processing, regardless of the source of the image.
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