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Life on the land in Australia

DRONE REPORT ON YOUR CROP FROM AN EYE IN THE SKY

Large-area, high-altitude, multi-spectral image of fields, captured from a UAV. At this scale, the image shows the health of the plants below—the darker the green, the healthier the plants. Analysts can zoom in for much more detailed information. Image courtesy of Insitu Pacific.

Large-area, high-altitude, multi-spectral image of fields, captured from a UAV.image www.spy-drones.com

“One of the most exciting applications we’re seeing for UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] is in precision agriculture, using the ability of hyper- and multi-spectral sensors to provide very close to real-time crop information for farmers,” says Andrew Duggan, MD of Insitu Pacific, a subsidiary of Boeing.

The sensors: Hyper- and multi-spectral cameras “give you the ability to see things you can’t see with the naked eye, by using different parts of the visual light spectrum,” explains Duggan. “You can see whether some parts of the plant have more chlorophyll than others, or you might have an image of a field that’s largely blue, where the odd red patch indicates you have some kind of fungal infection developing.”

Application: Now one-seventh of the size they were just three years ago, these cameras can be mounted on remote-controlled UAVs. “We can visit crops on a regular basis and provide almost immediate turnaround of data to the farmer, which tells them whether there’s water stress, whether they need pesticide in certain areas … where they need to apply fertiliser and so on,” says Duggan.

Potential: The next application for UAV-mounted cameras will be for mining, oil and gas. Says Duggan, “Companies use large aircraft or helicopters carrying Lidar (light detection and ranging), a very common sensor for accurate airborne survey. Lidars are also going to become small enough that we can carry them on UAVs.”

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Henry Sapiecha

May 19th, 2016
Topic: DEVICES INSTRUMENTS, DRONES, EDUCATION TRAINING Tags: , ,

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