UASs/Drones in Agriculture


There is a rapid emergence of new technologies in unmanned aircraft system (UAS)/drone and their applications for data collection and decision making in agriculture, in governmental organizations, academia, and the private sector. There are common issues and interests among these different user communities. These relate to collecting data for climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation in agricultural environments, as well as to data stewardship and quailty. This session will bring together representatives from the three sectors to share experiences and potentially foster collaboration.

Session agenda:

- [20 min] --- Casey Calamaio, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Information Technology and Systems Center (ITSC): UAS, an academia perspective
[TBD abstract]

- [20 min] --- Steven Thomson, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), USDA: UAS In Agriculture -  A USDA NIFA Perspective; Appropriate Science, Possibilities, and Current Limitations

UAS are used in agricultural settings for detection of anomalies in cropped fields, crop spraying, and robotic sampling. The potential for such uses (usually through imaging) has increased dramatically due to the sophistication of auto-piloted aircraft and miniaturization of high resolution imaging systems. UAS for crop spraying has potential but with some limitations within the U.S. market. When using UAS over crop canopies for detection of anomalies, such as disease and water and nutrient stress, it is important that appropriate high value data with appropriate mathematical manipulations of those data be used for decision-making. Bottlenecks include the need for real-time processing of imagery and the high volume of imagery data sets. Farm managers do not want data; they want properly interpreted results from those data for operations management. This presentation will discuss the uses, caveats, and potential of UAS in agriculture.

- [20 min] --- Nathan Stein, senseFly: An Industry Perspective on UAV’s in Agriculture

UAV's have quickly emerged as a useful tool in gathering multi-temporal and high resolution data. This industry is rapidly evolving with a diversity of platforms, sensors, and data architecture. This presentation will review the status of the Agriculture UAV industry, some of its current pain points, and some of the longer term issue, such as camera calibration standards and certification, file formats and compression, as well as image standards.

[30 min] - Group discussion


UASs/Drones in Agriculture; Winter Meeting 2017. ESIP Commons , October 2016