Inside Unmanned Systems

OCT-NOV 2018

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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54  October/November 2018 unmanned systems inside recent years. We've always had the big equip- ment," he said, indicating the high-tech tractor. "Now we're getting to the smaller equipment that today is even more powerful." Drone expert Van Der Wal said many farm- ers like Schulman will not be interested in the technical side of things per se, including things like location-specific signals. "What they re- ally want to know is what they have to do with the information," he said. "They need to use it. If they are able to use it they will invest in it. That means the software, all these new pack- ages now coming into the market that absorb our data and translate it into required actions, that's really important too." Photos courtesy of Peter Gutierrez, Aerialtronics and Markus Spiske via Unsplash. Pekka Pesonen, general secretary, Copa-Cogeca "The technological and digital transformation of agriculture is no longer a discussion for the future. Big Data, provided by precision farming methods, optimizes the use and marketing of related tools, facilitating sales and improving the competitiveness of EU farming." Pekka Pesonen, general secretary of Copa-Cogeca, told attendees at Agriculture and Space Day that data sharing between government and industry could simplify oversight and make it more e•cient, modern and fair. BRUSSELS VIEW by PETER GUTIERREZ GOVERNMENT BUSINESS Drones also are being used to calculate field siz- es for subsidy purposes. Today, when a farmer says he has five hectares to declare, what he's done is gone out with a GNSS receiver and walked around the perimeter of the property. Then there is the verification process, which involves an inspector coming out to make sure the farmer's measurements are accurate. It's a time and labor intensive process, compared to what could be done using drones. "One of the more cumbersome things is when you have to control the area of your farm," Van Der Wal said, "and there have been some tests with control officers using a drone. With stereo photography we can easily measure the size of the field. We can even see under the trees. With satellite photos we can only look from above. "What I think would be interesting is if we could give the farmer a drone or let them use their own drone to measure the field. Then they submit that to the government. With Galileo you have the integrity function so we know it's true. No further verification is needed." It sounds straightforward, but drone use in this way has not, so to speak, taken off. Not yet, at least. Van Der Wal said a lot of that has to do with the people involved. "The point is the farmer, like the controller, has a specific task and background. They are used to working the way they work. And now they have to learn a new way and even how to fly a drone. It takes time." Copa-Cogeca spokesperson Stephen Weller said there are other obstacles to drones being used to verify field sizes: "You have the ques- tion of price. Then there is interoperability with the systems already being used by the control agencies. They need time to learn and gain ex- perience. You've got to test this new solution, to see if it's accurate, and you need to understand which methods you're going to need to use to verify the results." For research operations AeroVision B.V. uses the Aerialtronics octocopter, called the Altura Zenith ATX8 which can fly with a payload of 2.9 kilograms.

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