This magazine isn't online, but you can get it on your iPad, Kindle or Android tablet via NextIssue. The article is a pretty basic overview, with examples of using a Rite Wing Zephyr and a hexacopter along with a Canon s100 modified with the IR filter removed. But it's notable that drones are getting this kind of attention in agriculture. 

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Comment by MikeInFrance on June 24, 2013 at 4:41pm

I can see an area of risk: CROPDUSTERS!

But one has to consider that to be efficient, cropdusters have to fly in insane conditions, and I'm not even sure that cropdusting flight conditions meet any rule....

I honestly would not like to be a cropduster pilot and know there is a UAV flying in the vicinity... Chances of an encounter are way to great.

Therefore, I think that a gentleman's agreement has to be put in place, that no UAV be flown in the vicinity of cropdusting operations.

Comments are welcome

Comment by Kevin Price on June 24, 2013 at 5:56pm

I have heard the issues with crop dusters before, but cannot believe anyone flying these UAVs could not hear them coming and get the heck out of the way long before there is a problem.  If we are dealing with stupidity, then there is no way to make it safe, but I am assuming that those flying a UAV do not want it shredded and will get the heck out of the way.  A farmer is going to know if he has hired a crop duster, and will hear the plane long before it gets to him if his neighbor is dusting his field.

Comment by Kevin Price on June 24, 2013 at 7:14pm

You obviously do not live in Kansas were we can see everything for miles and with multiple spotters watching and listening, I am SURE we would know if a crop duster were in the area.  I have only seen one plane that was miles away during all the times we have been flying.  I guess if you live at the end of LAX, you might have a case.


T3
Comment by Rory Paul on June 24, 2013 at 8:19pm

If you want to see the program the did here is the link:

http://www.agriculture.com/successful-farming/machinery-show/drone-...

Comment by Kevin Price on June 24, 2013 at 9:12pm

Actually, multiple polls are showing that the general population has little concern about the use of drones for military or peaceful applications.

http://http://www.aia-aerospace.org/newsroom/aia_news/poll_demonstr...

Comment by Dries Raymaekers on June 24, 2013 at 11:11pm

@Kevin/Mark,

On AGpixel..seems to be nice software you created and can be of great value to translate remote sensing tasks to UAV operators and consultants! Do you plan to distribute with open-source license? Would love to try it out! On functionality, I think some vector functionality could be useful (calculate statistics on field level) as well as simple calculator which (with the right ground measurements) could allow to convert pixel values or vegetation indices to something of physical meaning (CHL-a  or N content/LAI/FAPAR..) .

You can have a look to the Multispec software from Purdue University, which has similar functionalities + some other cool stuff.. and its free!! Go Boilermakers!!

https://engineering.purdue.edu/~biehl/MultiSpec/tutorials.html

On the NIR converted camera, when putting an extra filter in front, do you have to increase shutter time to be able to capture enough light or was there no notable difference? Would like to play around with it as well, but not when it would create more blur in the images.

Comment by Deon van der Merwe on June 25, 2013 at 3:54am
Dries, there is very little difference in the exposure settings of the converted cameras vs unconverted cameras. At least that is the case for the NIR/G/B conversion in the Canon S100, when looking at vegetation. The blue and green bands are not altered by the conversion, and the NIR band benefits from the high NIR reflection from vegetation. We always use the highest possible shutter speed for the cameras, which is 1/2000 in the S100. It produces sharp images at our typical flight speed and altitude, which are 18 m/s and 120 m. On multirotors you can get blur if the props are not balanced or the gimbal is not properly dampened.
Comment by Dries Raymaekers on June 25, 2013 at 10:07am

FlyingMerf, thanks for the insight! I also have an S100. Did you do the conversion on your own? I asked 4 private companies and all replied “We do not convert the S100 as we think it will have a horrible hot spot like the S90 and S95..”

Mark, sure, understand your point. Again, for sure there is a good market for easy-to-use and tailored remote sensing software for precision farming. Still, if there would be a demonstration/limited version or some more description available I would be interested to see. All the best!

Comment by Phill Scott on June 25, 2013 at 2:57pm

Mark,

I find your posts on this subject really interesting - you are thinking a lot of the things I am.  I'd be looking to provide in-the-field capabilities to do the kind of things you are talking about - such as using GPS enabled tablets to assess data right then and there.  and then using the UAS system to treat any issues found.

I thought the article was pretty good, but undershooting on the price quite a lot for a de-risked aerospace quality UAS system that would be appropriate for use in commercial applications like this.

Comment by Phill Scott on June 25, 2013 at 3:18pm

Yup! 

Will need to be carrying an on-board computer for other things so some post-processing work on board would be pretty good.  Should think that composing a 4 image strip or similar of NDVI data would be good.  There might be added benefits in terms of to sending NDVI only data on the fly, leaving the raw data for later. 

As a developer I intend to get out there and work with some farmers / research institutes to understand what the requirements are so that I can tailor my products better - simplest of feed back loops!

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