Among various UAV applications, precision agriculture is apparently one of the most frequent and best established even outside the walls of universities or research facilities. Benefits of remote aerial sensing and multispectral imaging with small and affordable drones are nowadays definitely proved. Sentek Systems is one of the several companies which are focused on development of precision agriculture sensor and we believe their remote sensing technology is so promising that it deserves closer attention from our side. Their GEMS sensor is quite a unique camera device for many reasons. It presents totally self-contained End-to-End System (Hardware & Software), collecting RGB, NIR, & NDVI imagery in a single flight. It aligns RGB & NIR images to sub-pixel level accuracy to produce high quality NDVI imagery and high frame rate allows for high quality NDVI at lower altitudes. Moreover, there is no need to integrate with external autopilot or navigation system. GPS and inertial sensors are just already included with GEMS. Sentek´s precision agriculture sensor also includes auto detects take-off and landing events to initiate start and stop of cameras for easy and effective crop monitoring.
When comes to precision agriculture, one of the most essential part is so called NDVI or Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. It is basically spectral band calculation that uses the visible (RGB) and near-infrared (NIR) bands of the electromagnetic spectrum. An NDVI image provides critical crop information that is not visible in an RGB or NIR image of the same scene. For example, plants may appear green in an RGB image but if the plants are no longer photosynthetically active the same plants will appear black in an NDVI image. I´m sure you can imagine how useful could be precision agriculture sensor for farmers. Leaf spectral reflectance provides a vast data resource for assessing plant health based on the impact of biotic and abiotic stresses on leaf biochemistry and anatomy which in turn produces distinct changes in leaf optical properties. Reflectance patterns are influenced by leaf surface features, internal architecture and biochemical composition. In general, NDVI can be used mainly to detect plant stress due to water deficiency, disease, leaf nitrogen content, photosynthetic activity. You can use your UAV with a precision agriculture sensor in order to monitor NDVI to identify locations in a field that may need attention; where leaf and soil samples should be taken for more detailed information.
Workflow for Farmer Utilizing UAV Remote Sensing consist of flying, analyzing data, identify trouble areas in a field with GPS coordinates, taking samples in a field, and corrective action. This all need a solid precision agriculture sensor. The GEMS hardware and software allows for rapid processing and analyzing of the data to identify trouble areas immediately with GPS coordinates. The removal of having to upload the imagery to the cloud for computing or a 3rd party is eliminated. In addition, using the UAV imagery has many significant advantages in comparison to satellite imagety. With GEMS precision agriculture sensor you can perform crop monitoring everyday or as much as farmer demands, but with satellite on average only 4 times a month. Normal UAV can´t fly in heavy rain but obtains accurate NDVI with cloud coverage. Any satellie cannot get NDVI imagery with any cloud coverage or rain. In summary, UAVs can obtain faster and more accurate NDVI for timely assessment of crop health to provide immediate feedback to the farmer to take action. If you want to perform crop monitoring simply, effectively and anytime you need to, GEMS is an ideal precision agriculture sensor payload for remote sensing on small UAV. With dual RGB & NIR cameras with NDVI optical filters, high image frame rates and GEMS Software Tool, you will obtain the most self contained end-to-end low cost high performance precision agriculture multispectral imaging system on the market today. So if you are interesting in precision agriculture, you can of course contact us for more informations or directly purchase the GEMS sensor in our webshop: