Agricultural UAVs

Commercial use of drones in farms and other agriculture

Members: 1074
Latest Activity: Jul 23

Discussion Forum

Is there a software to count plants in a crop?

Started by Antonius Lourenço Kasbergen. Last reply by d j Jun 21. 13 Replies

Hi,Is there a software that can count automatically the number of plants in a crop?Example, counting soy plants. I know there are several limitations to this but is there any software that can speed…Continue

drone for spraying olive trees

Started by konstantinos vasilopoulos. Last reply by Drone/UAV parts supplier May 31. 12 Replies

by mistake i sent this to the group was a message...sorry about thatlooking to build a drone with a 5 lit tank for spraying olives trees due to the difficulty for a tractor to approachi have…Continue

Ground Station for Spraying Drone

Started by Pouria Mazandarani May 27. 0 Replies

We need a GSC for a small spraying drone base on Pixhawk. It should be capable of pausing the mission whenever the tank is empty, return to launch, and after refueling or changing the battery, return…Continue

Tags: precision, farming, agricultural, drone, station

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Comment by keeyen pang on March 23, 2013 at 8:19am

here is a link. While you are there, check out the interesting 3D amination base on aerial image. you can use autopanogiga ( free trial ) to stitch images. can try  MS ICE (freeware). You can use geosetter to geo ref individual image. Not aware any open source software able produce geo ref othomosaic. I've been using dronemapper with good result although sometime the othomosaic blending need some improvement. JP is a nice guy and he'll go all out to help you. 

Comment by Krzysztof Bosak on March 23, 2013 at 7:55am

3000 acre is 12km2. this is well into 3-4h flight at 10cm pixel resolution. Pix4D is making IR maps from dual camera setups. For NDVI you should rather forget doing two consecutive flights with both cameras unless there is zero cloud coverage and the sun angle is fixed.

Comment by Eric T on March 22, 2013 at 8:34am

Keeyan Pang, any links to some stitched images you have created of large areas?  Also, what are people using to stitch images together.  Don't really wanna spend the money on an expensive package right away...  What are the options out there?  I think I remember reading about some opensource-type software packages that would geo-reference images?  or was that a pipe dream?

Comment by keeyen pang on March 22, 2013 at 8:32am

Here is a long discussion with a under graduate student regarding the set up of New Skywalker. If you would like to use it as your air frame, it may have some useful info. 

For me, the most comfortable flight time target is 25 - 30 minutes. This is because you can use just one 4S 5000 mah battery with sufficient reserve at the end of the flight and the all up weight of the plane is about 2.2 kg. Lighter plane always fly better.  

If you are going to build 1/3 size piper cub, with some simple modification, you may able to get it fly for three hour so you can just sit at the comfort armchair and check your field : )  

Comment by Eric T on March 22, 2013 at 7:49am

Keeyan Pang, 

That is awesome that you have done some flights covering large areas.  I was worried about how long it would take to map the whole farm, but that is definitely my first application I think, just getting some aerial images of each field each year for historical records and planning.  I'm sure our first attempts will take a bit longer than you, but we'll get there!  Thanks for the tip on Skywalker, I'll check it out.  We want something that is not monster sized (tho we are hoping to build a nice 1/3 scale piper cub or something soon for fun :) ) but big enough that it can fly in a little bit of wind, as I live in an area that is often quite windy.

Comment by Joshua Ott on March 21, 2013 at 9:40pm

Great conversation here.

The eyes will be in the air--guiding the tools on the ground. 

After twelve hours behind the wheel of the tractor, I feel like a robot :-)

Comment by keeyen pang on March 21, 2013 at 9:20pm


How nice to have your own farm and fly FPV around it. 

For 3000 acre, you may just need 3 to 4 flight, 1 hour flight time for each flight to cover the whole area. I've been able to map about 500 acre in 30 minutes flight time at 200 meter altitude. My set up is a simple NewSkywalker with 4S 5000 mah battery.

In my opinion, at current stage, the low cost DIY UAV is very capable to produce othomosaic, DEM and DSM. The GSD is about 7 cm/pixel in 200 meter altitude. The resolution is high enough for general operation decision making purpose. 

The next stage may be using it to produce NDVI for crop analysis. If the camera like maxmax can be effectively use in these area, then I think the potential will be huge. 

Crop duster or sprayer may be still a long way to go before it can become economical and being the expected weight carry by the UAV, safety will be an issue. 

Comment by Troy Reabe on March 21, 2013 at 12:44pm


I can see where small swarms of drones could be used but I think this is still some time out. For a hive type system you would need a drone that can leave the hive, Fly a half a mile out scout the location it is going to. Then apply the treatment needed that it carried out from the hive. then fly a half a mile back. At this point it would still be a small or medium size quad to do this. Also the cost needs to get down to a point that this can be paid for by a farmer.


One reason I like flying spraying vs ground based is we work alot on potatos. and they don't like being driven on. so with ground based it hurts yield.  but if we start talking about 5 lbs RC cars those would not have the same mark made as a full size ground rig. so that might change the proccess.


Comment by Eric T on March 21, 2013 at 12:11pm

Tim, I totally agree with your assessment of the uses in drones.  Another I could see would just be simple historical record keeping.  I would get some use out of having one aerial map of each field on the same date (middle of the growing season) each year.  Tracking poor spots getting larger or smaller would be interesting over time.

Concerning VR, you are right about efficiency.  The big corporate or Huderite Colony farms up here use variable rate to cut back on total fertilizer costs by not fertilizing the areas that never produce good yields.  With fertilizer bills running anywhere from $200-400k/yr on a 3000 acre farm (depending on fert price fluctuation), the savings could add up to some pretty significant numbers on large farms.  

Comment by Tim Woodward on March 21, 2013 at 11:55am

Good intro into VR technology and some of the tools/methods that are commonly used. Good point about VRT not being the silver bullet in producing better yields, but its definitely going to increase our efficiency. 

At the onset of drone adoption in agriculture, I think they will have two functions with the common agronomist or large producer/farm: 1) aid the delineation of management zones for VR applications (fertilizer and seed), and 2) aid in targeted scouting. As things advance, I think we will begin to see actual measurements taken from drones translate directly into prescriptions with very litter need for human involvement (similar to NDVI sensors currently on many sprayers across the world).

I don't think we'll see any significant adoption in a unmanned system for aerial chemical applications. There has been numerous automated ground-based systems developed that use mechanical pest controls, which means large capacity tanks will not be necessary.  They are basically ardurovers with flails (or fire) and sensors able to distinguish friend (crop) from foe (pest).


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