View… from the drone

View… from the drone

Before spring planting got fully underway last month, Moore & Warner farm managers met up with the team at Crop Copter (@cropcopter) to test-fly their latest UAV and aerial platform.

UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, or “drones”) and their regulation have been a hot topic this year both in the agricultural community and the general public and press.

This particular drone configuration features a high resolution GoPro camera for video and pictures, a navigation camera, and sophisticated GPS-linked software that allows users to enter a pre-determined flight path.

We flew the drone via handheld-remote control and were surprised by how easy and maneuverable the drone is, even in relatively high winds.  Wearing a pair of video-goggles connected wirelessly to the navigation camera allowed for a first-person perspective as if you were actually in the drone itself.

The potential for crop scouting is clear, and we discussed specific uses like monitoring flooded fields that are not accessible by truck or ATV with the Crop Copter team.  The imagery is better and more precise than standard aerial imagery, and we expect analytical software will catch-up to the hardware, making the processing of vast amounts of video and still photographs that much easier.

Crop Copter mid-assembly.  Not the 4 rotors yet-to-be installed in the top right.
Crop Copter mid-assembly. Note the 4 rotors yet-to-be installed in the top right.
Planting on Moore-Warner managed farm, as shot from Crop Copter.
Planting on Moore-Warner managed farm, as shot from Crop Copter.

 

UAV in a software-controlled hover looks at  Moore & Warner truck.
UAV in a software-controlled hover looks at Moore & Warner truck.
UAV taking off.  The flight system marks "home" and with automatically return if it loses contact with the controller.
UAV taking off. The flight system marks “home” and will automatically return if it loses contact with the controller.