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Using Drones in Agriculture: Unmanned Aerial Systems for Agricultural Remote Sensing Applications

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  141911016,  2014 Montreal, Quebec Canada July 13 – July 16, 2014. (doi: 10.13031/aim.20141911016) @2014
Authors:   Charles Malveaux, Steven G Hall, Randy Price
Keywords:   Autonomous vehicles, machine vision, UAV, crop data, precision agriculture, drone

Abstract. Vertical and short-field takeoff and landing capable unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones can be equipped to carry various agricultural sensors ranging from active NDVI crop sensors to full spectrum and near infrared cameras.

Drones are able to survey large areas of land without the inherent safety risks and high costs involved with the use of much larger manned aircraft, and the use of these UAV Systems can provide real time imagery and sensor data from farm field areas which cannot be quickly accessed on foot or by vehicle. Where dense and or very tall rows of crops are in place it is difficult to quickly access centrally located crops on foot or by land vehicle without damaging some crops in the process, but these areas can be safely and rapidly over flown by light weight drone aircraft with no damage to crops.

Precision agriculture requires real time data and the ability of UAV's to fly over crops and quickly gather crop management data makes them a solution to this need. Advancements in guidance systems, batteries, and control systems have made these drones both plausible and practical and my field results at local research areas have proven that they can be used effectively.

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