Here's an excellent (unhyped) story from ABC's Landline (Aus) about how precision agriculture is being enabled by new data collected with drones.
- Sydney University's Centre for Field Robotics
- Autonomous ground robot collecting video, 3D imagery and soil conductivity
- Hexacopter with downward camera for top down view
- Correlating flower density with crop yield
- Weed detection and eradication
- Locust swarm modelling and control
- Cattle herding using kinect style sensors
- Yamaha's RMAX UAV helicopter for crop dusting
- Regulatory limitations (line of sight)
- Tangible benefits to farmers (early nutrition adjustment, forward selling)
It's an important counter point to the recent controversy where animal liberation activists filmed a chicken farm with a drone and claimed it wasn't meeting it's free-range claims - the farmer had a different perspective. This has now resulted in a powerful lobby group requesting tight laws on spy drones - something that will effect us all.