What exactly is precision agriculture?
Precision agriculture is considered to be one of the fields where the use of UAVs may become a key factor dividing the future farmers into successful and failures. Some of the farmers already use spectral analysis provided by a satellite, but that does not necessarily mean it is precise. There are factors that distort the satellite’s data such as clouds, smoke, air pollution etc.. A more accurate method of observing your crops while maintaining the low time cost of the operation is to use a UAV.
Precision means an efficient observation
If you are interested in unmanned aerial vehicles, you probably are aware of that these drones and copters can fly up to one hundred kilometres an hour which enables them to cover fairly large areas in a short time frame. Moreover, they are much less influenced by the factors mentioned above for they are directly above the field and so weather cannot really affect the measured data. Consider this one more advantage – you can get your data at any time with no need to rely on any third party that will do it for you; all you need is to take your copter out and fly it over the field.
With the spectral analysis of the data you can then discern various conditions that affect your crops. These conditions are for example hydration, diseases, soil condition, crop health and more. These can be observed thanks to the near infrared radiation which is reflected by the plants and observed with special cameras.
Drones are farmer´s best helpers
We closely cooperate with Tetracam Inc., a company which manufactures and sells advanced cameras and provide famers with complete solutions for their precision agriculture. With our solutions you can easily improve the efficiency of your farm. This means that you will be able to precisely adjust the input of fertilizers, water, pesticides and decide which time is the best to plant or harvest your crops. A few examples of the copters and drones usage in precision agriculture are also available on the VespaDrones blog.
Yet we haven´t mentioned crop spraying. That could be another very useful – and let´s say actively agricultural – application. Using UAVs to spray crops is supported with more than 20 years of the Yamaha’s RMAX UAV field usage in Asia. Once the flight plan is invented, crop spraying becomes a very simple task and requiring a pilot to do it seems a bit unnecessary and drones have proven themselves very well suited for this task. With new and bigger UAV designs becoming avaible, we expect UAVs to be used exclusively for this task once the industry properly develops.
In conclusion, precision agriculture industry is just a great area for UAV usage. Drones can map the fields, perform quick scouting and even spray the crops with water. As the technical development in agriculture has been the essential matter for mankind in every era, I truly have a faith that this is a next step in a plant growing. I guess we can expect a massive boom in this field in the close future. Though it may sounds like a science fiction or just a gadget fashion, drones can definitely help people and could be some day even a key componet in a global famine relief.
Drones and products for Precision Agriculture
Unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are evolving into a robust tool for precision agriculture. Farmers throughout the world could benefit from UAVs technology by becoming better managers of their production practices.
At present, there are two broad platforms for UAVs, namely the ‘Fixed Wing’ and ‘Rotary Wing’ (copter or multicopter) types. We offer mainly rotary wing UAVs, as example hexacopter XYRIS 6, which have the advantage of being able to take off and land vertically and hover over a target. Actually, we don´t offer you only a simple drone, we are able to provide you a fully complex solution for precision agriculture. Thanks to our close cooperation with company Tetracam Inc. we can easily improve the efficiency of your farm. If you decide to purchase our copter, we can help you to choose the best camera or sensor and software, including its setting and instalation. Also, don´t hesitate to ask us about flight school or consulting for multispectral imaging, remote sensing, controlling the UAV or anything else.
Each Tetracam’s multi-spectral imaging system are able to monitor the visible and near infrared radiation that plants and crops reflect. Thanks to this can customers capture any required data which help them to react to problems caused by extreme climate changes; weeds, pests and diseases; over-planting; improper irrigation; inconsistent application of fertilizers; poor drainage and, a host of other problems that impact the health of crops. Ground-based imaging systems and imaging systems that are carried in UAV have some significant advantages in comparison with satellite-based monitoring systems. They are less prone to errors due to atmospheric perturbations, Raleigh scattering, smoke or air pollution. Near-Earth images may be captured over and over again in a timely manner under the complete control of the user. Their views are less likely to be hindered by clouds. And, images from satellites that are of comparable resolution to those captured by copters with multispectral imaging systems are expensive.
Tetracam offers a well-known ADC (Agriculture Digital Camera) family of cameras suited specially for precision agriculture with drones. These cameras of imaging systems contain a single high-resolution image sensor. The sensor is divided into a mosaic of filters. Each filter allows either red, green or near-infrared radiation to pass through. Each ADC multi-spectral imaging system includes PixelWrench2 software. By adding the filtered light from each pixel output from the sensor, PixelWrench2 is able to convert the captured color infrared (CIR) image into one of a number of standard graphical indicators such as NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetative Index) or SAVI (Soil-Adjusted Vegetation Index). Indices such as these indicate biomass, chlorophyll content and the overall health of plants. As we said in the beginning, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) present an attractive option for flying with multi-spectral imaging systems above areas of interest, not only for precision agriculture. UAV, in our case mainly copters, enable users to obtain images anytime they want rather than just when a satellite is scheduled to pass over the area.
One of the best Tetracam multi-spectral imaging system in ADC family is undoubtedly ADC Snap. This device is housed in the same package as ADC Micro, but the main difference is that it uses a 1.3 MPel electronic global snap sensor (1280 x 1024pixels). This multi-spectral imaging system does not experience rolling shutter problems, simply because it exposes the entire image at the same instant in time. Another great solution for precision agriculture presents ADC Lite, a lightweight version of ADC Air Camera. This model’s light weight qualifies it as an ideal solution for applications in which weight is a critical and crucial factor (such as on board small-payload-carrying UAV ). This Tetracam´s multi-spectral imaging system contains a single 3.2 megapixel sensor optimized for capturing visible light wavelengths longer than 520 nm and near-infrared wavelengths up to 920 nm. Drones in precision agriculture have tremendous promise to boost efficiencies, drive farmer profits, and increase environmental sustainability. We at Vespadrones are working hard to develop UAV applications in all these areas. Anyway, thanks for reading and feel free to connect us with any drones related questions and requests. We do offer outstanding copters and multispectral imaging systems with bundled image processing services for the most effective and low-cost presicion agriculture.