Iain Butler's Posts (9)

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This blog covers the development of an autonomous fixed-wing mapping drone, and the mapping of a vineyard in California.

The vineyard was located in a valley with the main property at the top of a hill, with the vines covering the hilly area. There was approx. 80 acres of vineyard and almond trees, with a 260 feet elevation change. To comply with the FAA 400 AGL limit for UAV’s, the mission was planned with a 130 feet AGL at the top of the hill by the property with a small designated landing area. This gave us 130 feet flying over the property, plus 390 feet at the lowest point in the property, which happened to be a dried up lake bed.

The full blog can be read here.

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So today I was invited to a UAV product launch, with a company I’ve discussed before Drone Deploy, http://www.dronedeploy.com and https://theuavguy.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/god-is-my-co-pilotor-is-it-drone-deploy/ . However this story has a couple of twists, actually 3 in total. But before we get to that, let’s go back to how it all started.

Drone Deploy was founded by Mike, Jono and Nicholas, 1 Ex-Google and 2 Cambridge Ph.D.’s. Back in the early days in their home in South Africa they decided to try and turn their hobby of RC flying, into saving Rhinos from being poached. That idea sat in their collective minds, and with their passion for RC flight and Engineering knowledge, fast forward and they founded Drone Deploy back in 2013. That’s a pretty noble start, Drones for Good, rather than setting up to just make a quick buck and check out. And I believe that is what makes Drone Deploy what it is today. Rather than focus on money, they focused on how to solve a problem. And from my own personal testing of the system, and from the demo’s today they have a pretty good solution. And as normal when you have a good solution, the money will find you.

For the rest of the article click on this link to the Blog Post





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What happened at the AMA Expo?


I’ve been a card carrying member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) for over a decade, when my first plane was a 2-channel toy with a turning radius of Texas from a hobby store. Today that humble start has grown into a whole collection of Warbirds, 3D planes, EDF jets, Helicopters and of course the Multirotors. I’ve always meant to go to the AMA Expo held every year in Ontario in South California, but for one reason or another I never quite made it. This year given the influx of “drones”, I wondered how the AMA and the AMA Expo was coping with this change. I was covering the AMA Expo for RC Flight Camera Action Magazine in the UK. So this post is going to be a bit different, as I realized that I had a lot of photographs. So instead I’m going to let the photographs do the talking, interspersed with commentary from myself. Blog post on AMA Expo

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God is my Co-Pilot……or is it Drone Deploy?

3689634737?profile=originalRecently I was approached about one of my previous blog posts on Vineyard Surveys by a Drone Startup based in San Francisco, Drone Deploy. In my previous blogs I’ve stated the importance of a whole system approach to UAV work with a smooth end-to-end flow. It’s not about the drone, or how sexy it is. It’s using the drone as a tool to get actionable data that can be used to improve your crop yields, reduce your survey times, in a sense make you work more efficiently with less workload. What Drone Deploy suggested is that they had taken the processing section of the workflow and automated it. From my experiences and from talking with other UAV operators, it’s clear flying and capturing useful images/data is 20% of the time, the rest of the 80% is data processing, analysis and decision making. However Mike Winn, CEO and founder (Jono Millin and Nicholas Pilkington are also founders) at Drone Deploy told me that they had devised a product that would take the data as the drone is flying, yes as it’s flying, and start processing as it’s flying, and 15 to 30 minutes after landing you would have all the processed data available. Really? This seemed too good to be true, as such I set off on this investigation to see how well Drone Deploys system worked. Blog post on Drone Deploy.

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So if you’ve got a RC plane, Helicopter or Multirotor for Christmas congratulations, I’m sure you’re going to really enjoy it. I’m hopefully going to give you some pointers so you don’t crash your new drone. It should also make your flying more enjoyable and less stressful. Follow the link to the full blog link

Merry Christmas





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3D Robotics Iris+ flying with a NDVI modified GoPro Hero3+ Camera


The following NDVI GoPro flight with Iris+ video shows the results of a manual flight of a 3D Robotics Iris+ carrying a modified NDVI GoPro Hero 3+ camera. The aim is to show how the modified GoPro lens allows vegitation health/stress to be monitored.




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