Hi there, my name is Ben Boughton and I am a grain producer from NSW in Australia. I have recently been awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to research the potential of UAVs/UGVs in the grains industry (Sponser: GRDC). I have a website - agmapsonline.com where I have been documenting some of my initial research. I have some information about Nuffield and my research project below.
This year I plan to travel locally & globally to continue my studies and am looking for people to visit. I am very interested in the Open Source community UAV scene and believe it has a lot to offer the ag industry.
The people I would like to meet with is anyone that is using UAVs to improve their grain production. I am particularly interested in those competent in producing georeferenced aerial imagery including NDVI over large areas (100Ha+) and willing to share processes.
Much of what I learn will be made available through Nuffield as a report which is presented upon completion.
If you like to be a part please contact me by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your time,
As a side note - I have just received my PixHawk and plan to put it in my fresh Finwing Penguin when I get a chance. I am very excited by the potential of this little unit especially when we see people combining it with the Piksi RTK GPS.
A summary of my Nuffield Scholarship:
2014 Nuffield Scholar Ben Boughton
I am an Australian farmer based in northern NSW on a family farm. We grow wheat, barley, and chickpeas in the winter and sorghum in the summer. Our land area is 2200ha and annual rainfall is 600mm.
About Nuffield Australia:
Nuffield Australia awards Scholarships each year to farmers in Australia. The objective is to increase practical farming knowledge and management skills and techniques generally. These scholarships give Australian citizens the opportunity to study farming practices in New Zealand, Europe, Asia and the Americas and those countries best suited to the Scholar. They will also promote a closer understanding between farmers in the countries visited.
Upon returning to Australia it is expected that Scholars will be able to actively spread the knowledge and understanding they have gained among their fellow farmers and others.
Read more at Nuffield Australia Website: http://nuffield.com.au/about-nuffield-australia/
Research Project: Potential of unmanned aerial/ground vehicles in the grains industry
I believe there are several components that make up the agricultural UAV Solution:
aUAV Solution = platform + GPS + autopilot & communication + sensor + data processing & integration + legal & operation
As part of my Nuffield studies I want to look at farmers/agronomists/specialist businesses integrating these components to make better decisions on grain farms and thus increase their triple bottom line (economic, environmental & social). I want to try and cover solutions over different price points spanning from professional integrated solutions (e.g. AgEagle, Precision Hawk), to the budget (yet almost complete) such as Event38 to anyone that has had success in a fully DIY setup (e.g. 3D Robotics components). Ideally I’d like to see UAVs operating, collecting data, data processed and then the data put to work in an existing grain growing system or at least understand the potential for this process.
In addition, I would like to meet people focusing on individual components, particularly the sensor and software development integration into existing precision agriculture systems, as this has been identified as a great challenge.
Ground vehicles are not a direct focus, but small autonomous ground vehicles used to collect data or undertake light duties such as camera spraying will be considered as well.
Upon returning to Australia I will be presenting my findings to the Nuffield organisation and a report will be made available on the Nuffield website. I also hope to in the future use UAV technology on my home farm.
Read more about my farming background and Nuffield project at http://agmapsonline.com
If you come across europe on your trip, your most welcome on my farm..I´m going the same way.
Nice initiative Ben! I would also recommend you to take a look at the educational drone Erle. Might be useful for your purpose.
I have seen the NAVIO and it is an exciting development. I will be keeping a close eye on its developments.
Would I be right in assuming you think RTK is essential in UAV for pin pointing where an aerial photograph is taken to improve the post flight georeference accuracy? Or are you looking to the future more with in flight image georeferencing? Along with other benefits such as better flight control?
Congratulations Ben :)
@Monroe - I agree RTK will add a whole lot to help in farming. We rely on it every day in our tractors for not only accuracy but what we call repeatability - being able to return to the exact same spot year in year out.
@John - Thanks for the links. Dronespeak appears to be an excellent resource that I have not been using to its full potential. I had seen it a while back but forgot about it - oops! But thanks for bring it back to my attention.
@Jonathan - I call it agriculture too but specify grains industry as there is a whole other list of applications if you were to throw my project under the umbrella of general agriculture (e.g. livestock and pasture management). Thanks for the name Robert Blaire. I have been in contact with him and plan to drop a visit when in the US.
You might ask Robert Blair, who's actually using drones in the "grains industry" (that's an interesting term; here we usually just call it "agriculture"). Robert has a blog and has been profiled on DiyDrones a few times.
Ben, sounds like a fabulous project! To save you some search time, this page has links about applying UAS for agriculture. Likewise, this page of links about unmanned ground-vehicle systems. This page has links about work on aerial mapping. This page offers tips for Internet searches, and this page for searching the DIY Drones website.