Commercial use of drones in farms and other agriculture

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  • Just completed processing of my first flight of this year, it feels good to get back outside in the sunshine!

    3701956744?profile=originalTrent Fields Mosaic Winter Wheat. Hosted by MapsMadeEasy.

    Trent Fields
    Winter Wheat Field between River Trent and Beeston Canal Cut in Nottingham, UK.
  • I have worked with Headwall Photonics for a number of years as a supplier of high performance camera lenses. This camera, depending on accesories etc, can be any where from $40K for a very basic unit to over $100K.

    Keep in mind this is very typical for a camera of this type. Add in specialized imaging sensors, such as sCMOS, SWIR, etc and they could run you over $150K.

    Juan, you can email me direct at:   kdbusto@vegatecgroup.com

    I would be happy to sennd more info on what we are doing in FOPEN(Foliage Penetration).

  • Hi.

    Michael: what is the price of that Headwall camera?

    Vega Tech: I would like to get some info on the FOPEN project please.

  • Vega Tech,  Thanks for the links. I look forward to looking into these systems.

  • We are getting excellent results with a Headwall Nano Hyper-spec over biofuel optimized sorghum.
  • There are UAV's much more powerful and larger than what is traditionally thought of as a UAV in the consumer market. Our experience has been primarily military, that is where our Sense & Avoid system is going.

    Interesting you should mention wide area imaging. I am working on a satellite project at this time. The camera will actually be a full silicon wafer with 30 CMOS imagers on it. Each imager will have a specific spectral filter.

    Combined Visible(380-680) & MWIR(3-5um) systems with fused imaging is big right now as well. Cloudcap division of Flir makes this type of system, as well Rafael in Israel.

    I am familiar with the Microsoft Ultracam products. They use large format CCD's. I think around 90mp? 

    I think this CCD was originally developed for Astronomy? The sensor is cooled to -30C or so for very long exposures when used in Astronomy.

    Finger Lakes Instruments makes some large format Astronomy cameras:  www.flicamera.com

    TeledyneDalsa makes large format imagers as well: www.teledynedalsa.com

    Got the money, TeledyneDalsa will build you any size CCD sensor you want.

    We do have COTS camera systems for the commercial market under $10K, but some run easily over $100K.

    Again, my point here is that camera sensors & cameras are readily available that can image, get viable data, and not be hindered by issues with the available light and/or weather. Of course I would not recommend flying your UAV in the middle of a severe weather event.

    FLI Quality Cooled CCD and CMOS Cameras Home
    Quality Cooled CCD Cameras for Scientific and Astronomical Imaging
  • Vega Tech,

    I apologize, I should have been more specific. I was speaking in regards to the aerial mapping field in general using traditional fixed and rotor wing aircraft's for acquisition for mapping purposes. The systems used in that specific industry generally cost over a million dollars. These are systems like the Vexel series from Microsoft, the DMC series from ZI, and the ADS series from Leica. These systems are designed to cover very large areas with very high resolutions using metric camera systems designed for the sole intent of mapping.  That price is justified by the reliability of the systems and their ability to cover a huge amount of land in a single mission. I think that having a camera system for an sUAS that cost the same would be very difficult to justify for commercial applications. The appeal of an sUAS system in the mapping industry is that it can collect data of a similar but lesser quality of a small area for a small fraction of the cost. I certainly wish you the best of luck and look forward to looking at your projects. I just think you might find difficulty marketing such a system to the commercial market. Perhaps military applications would be better suited for such a system.

  • A typical camera development program can easily be in the millions of dollars.

    We are working on a low light(4-e), very high dynamic range(120+db) CMOS sensor program at the moment, cost $1.5M. This sensor is actually for use in a UAV. The application is Sense & Avoid. The sensor will not be saturated flying direct in to strong light, including in to the Sun. With Low Light, the sensors can image in almost any condition, even near total darkness without any form of illumination.

    These will be military grade sensors, so they will not have bad pixels, sealed in a water tight ceramic package. Unfortunately, funding is not available to make them Space Grade.

    The issue, is the hardware designed for the application? That is where we are going at this time.

    Please look up e2V EMCCD's, Fairchild sCMOS, and visit emva.org & spie.org

    Especially EMVA. We are installing an EMVA 1288 test & certification center at the U of Dayton in a few days. I will be there tomorrow unpacking the equipment.

    There is a free download of the EMVA 1288 standard on their website.

    We are currently working on a FOPEN(Foliage Penetration) project, to incorporate a Hyper-Multi Spectral Hybrid Prism Array Camera, with NIR to 1000nm. The system is designed specifically for Precision Agriculture.

    If any one is interested, please send me an email. I would be happy to send specs on these projects.

  • @Vega Tech: I understand that you speak out of your own experience, since you seem to be the marketing voice of your company that is selling high end picture processors.

    Nonetheless, I would welcome you to post examples of your sayings. This can also be a scientific publication or something like Richard Burd's intervention.

    On the other hand, please elaborate how something that is located between the light source and the object to examine will not have an influence on analysis....

  • Vega Tech,

    I don't believe that statement to be true.Camera and lenses quality certainly plays a factor however we have been using metric camera designed for aerial mapping for years. First film and now digital. These systems cost well over a million dollars and we still take into consideration clouds, sun angle, and weather. These variables will always be a factor with airborne image remote sensing.

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