Is Modern Agriculture about to get a big boost from UAS? #colbyuas

18 May Is Modern Agriculture about to get a big boost from UAS? #colbyuas

May 18th, 2015

by Chad E. Colby

There’s been so much talk in Agriculture Industry about Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) over the past few years as well all know.   It’s seem like in my opinion the industry has began to realize the important thing to the farmer is the value of the useful data.   After attending AUVSI earlier this month, I can happily report that the UAS industry is working hard to develop specialized technology for agriculture use

As we all know getting imagery beyond visual sight is nothing new, it’s been around over 20yrs +.  Challenge has always been getting useful data in a VERY timely manner.   It has just taken too long to get the data in time to make a decision from it. So many things can change in your field if you have to wait 24-48hrs for the imagery.

Recently couple UAS companies Ag Eagle Inc and Precision Hawk have taken this technology to the next level.   Both companies have developed technology to process data during flight, allowing the operator to get actual imagery beyond visual sight VERY shortly after flight.   THIS is a BIG DEAL!  

Recently I had a chance to visit Ag Eagle Inc, in Kansas to review their new creation in person.  The Ag Eagle Carbon Pro is same proven “shape” as the Classic Ag Eagle but it’s now made with advanced aviation construction methods.  Now just like many full size aircraft, the Ag Eagle Carbon Pro uses carbon fiber wing construction.  This is a HUGE deal, much lighter and much stronger.   Now after several flights, I can tell you this works like a dream.   #UASgamechanger Link to video of visit to Kansas

As the Ag Eagle Carbon Pro flies, images are captured at a regular interval, which means hundreds of photos are gathered while in flight. The images are assembled automatically during flight, creating a seamless aerial map. It is no longer necessary to remove the SD card from the camera, copy the images to your computer, and process them with complicated software, which can take many hours.   The new Ag Eagle Carbon Pro is powered by DroneDeploy, which eliminates the long processing time, delivering stitched and geo-referenced images to your internet connected device in minutes.  This technology takes the flight data (flight plan) and communicates it to the flight controller (3D Robotics) to operation the ship via cellular from your tablet or smartphone.   DroneDeploy also wi-fi links up to the sensor (standard Sony QX1 camera) and during the flight they are upload for processing in the cloud.   Don’t worry if you dont have service some reason you can upload “old school” when you get back on the ground.

We are also looking at other sensors as well, I just purchased the new RedEdge camera from MicaSense and I can’t wait to get that camera in the air!  Stay tuned for more to that story, we just need the crops get a little bigger.  Unboxing video link

Also check out the Trackimo we installed on the Ag Eagle.  Trackimo is a light weight, battery powered cellular tracker and let me tell you, it worked GREAT!   Trackimo uses state-of-the art GPS and cellular technology to coordinate with GPS satellites for precise tracking anywhere on the globe.   No hidden fees. No roaming charges. No contractual obligations. Use Trackimo anywhere for free for the first 12 months, then only for $5/month – the lowest monthly charge on the market.    They have a special offer for you, use code #colbyuas at checkout.

Going to be an amazing year in 2015, the industry is taking steps in the correct direction.  It’s very important to remember today unless you have a 333 Exemption from the FAA, you cannot use this data to make ANY decisions.

Have questions about the current rules about UAS?  Check out Know Before You Fly website.


“Know Before You Fly is an education campaign founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), and the Small UAV Coalition in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

As excitement and enthusiasm continues to grow around UAS, and the regulatory framework continues to take shape, more consumers are looking to buy UAS for personal use and more businesses are looking to use UAS too. These prospective operators want to fly, and fly safely, but many don’t realize that, just because you can buy a UAS, doesn’t mean you can fly it anywhere, or for any purpose. Know Before You Fly provides prospective users with the information and guidance they need to fly safely and responsibly.”

Stay tuned….  more to come.


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