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what can a drone do in regards to ag??
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paul the original
Posted 12/16/2015 00:34 (#4963352 - in reply to #4963311)
Subject: RE: what can a drone do in regards to ag??

southern MN
At farm shows over the past 18 months, I've seen a lot of demos.

What we have today are the first or second wave of hobby drones.

And $20,000 sensing cameras.

And these companies I've seen, that want to merge the two into something useful.

The trouble with checking crops is that sunlight changes every 2 minutes, clouds, angle, etc. so with cameras, you get different results every 2 minutes.

So, what use is the data?

So these folk are trying to patch it all together, into a drone and camera and pile of software that covers enough ground, takes enough data, and sifts through the results to give you some useful info. But not tell you the second half of your field is a disaster, only to find out a cloud went over the sun while filming.....

Then, the govt has been pretty cool towards business use of drones, so its hard to even legally develop these ideas.....

That is going to take some time.

Some places say the can do it this coming interesting to see what they get, but it will be early, beginner stuff, not easy button stuff......

Maybe 2017 we will start to see real, useful stuff from the mapping.

I believe it will develop into an expensive service, because of the huge amounts of data collected. They have to sort through every tiny dot of all the video taken. The last version I saw demoed had 3 cameras pointing down (video, high def stills, and the special spectral one) and sensor pointed up to see how much and what angle sunlight was for every click.


Then, when they have all those little dots decoded into data, what does the data mean? Someone has to figure out what those pretty colors mean, buy being on the ground and working out all those little details - so when the drone flies over your field, it can compare to its data base and tell you what it sees in your fields. It is a learning process, and must take a lot of time?

I think the coop or an area crop consultant will end up owning the hardware, fly big portions of the county, and you can buy the weekly data from them for so many dollars an acre.

That doesn't mean we won't have our own drones and be able to get our own data info, but I think we will always like the pictures we get from our hobby priced drones mostly, and see stuff from the air that we wouldn't see as easy from the ground.

I think several places, such as Dronedeploy is working on offering some high tech maps to you and me, right now tho:

There are others, I just happened to have that site in my cache because it was mentioned in a different thread.

I think a few people on this page likely work with this stuff, and are beta testers of not innovators of it. I will guess they do not really want to speak up or be called out, as in the past anyone who mentions they are part of a company get in trouble around this site for advertising when they mention a commercial business. And that is a tough slippery slope to deal with on a forum..... Anyhow this form section especially is dealing with a new, emerging technology, which has a lot of new players, it will be interesting how the moderators deal with the info those insiders could share, vs becoming a blatant advertisers classified section......

As to hovering 3 miles away while sitting at your desk, it would appear the govt will not be good with that, one rule is that you be able to see your drone while flying it with normal sight. Even stretching that to make it a dot in the sky, over a mile, mile and a half is about it. And you can't be sitting at your desk inside. Them realistically, they have less than a half hour flight time, so there is not much hovering one can do. Maybe over the years as technology progresses that will change, but not in this decade I'm sure!

Just my uneducated view of it, interesting questions.

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