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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56  October/November 2018 unmanned systems inside In addition to the cooperatives, contrac- tual companies do provide drone services. It is more cost-effective and "more professional" this way, Weller said, as opposed to farmers just doing it themselves. "On top of the hard- ware, the drone, you also need the software, and there's maintenance and piloting skills and licenses. All this is necessary to be able to extract and process the data." One thing is certain—the market for drones and drone services in agriculture is not going away. Some farmers might be a little shy, but they won't shy away forever, not if the value is clear, Schulman said, "Everybody says; 'Do these guys know how to use this technology?' I can tell you one thing—we know how to use the technologies. We use them every day, from the biggest com- bines and tractors down to the smallest sensor technologies. Every farm has its own choice, its own system, how they do it, so you will never find a one-size-fits-all solution for all the farms. Give us a choice of solutions, lift it up, make it easy to use and accessible and we'll use it." BIG DATA—THE BIG BUSINESS MODEL Copa-Cogeca General Secretary Pekka Pesonen provided a big vision for agriculture based on, you guessed it, Big Data. Photo courtesy of senseFly. AeroVision B.V. uses the eBee from senseFly, a fixed-wing drone that can carry a payload of approximately 250 grams. "The eBee is very popular in agriculture because it can acquire imagery of fields in a relatively short time," said Tamme Van Der Wal, a partner at AeroVision. "AeroVision flies the eBee with the Parrot Sequoia, a powerful multispectral sensor. Sometimes we fly it with a Gamaya hyperspectral camera." "New technologies such as GNSS promise to provide European farming with the tools to compete in dynamic markets," Pesonen said. "The technological and digital transforma- tion of agriculture is no longer a discussion for the future. Big Data, provided by preci- sion farming methods, optimizes the use and marketing of related tools, facilitating sales and improv ing the competitiveness of EU farming." Though Pesonen referred primarily to sat- ellite-generated data, his argument applies equally to drone-generated information. "These technologies improve resource ef- f iciency and optimize the use of fertilizer, seeds, plant protection products, water and machinery, improving the f inancial bottom line," he said. "Data can be safely shared be- tween industry and authorities to help map farm land and track environmental initiatives accurately, simplifying regulatory oversight and making it more eff icient, modern and fair." And making the agriculture sector another huge target for interests ready to step in and provide the ever more powerful data-based information services that we all know are just around the corner. BRUSSELS VIEW by PETER GUTIERREZ

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