Meat and Livestock Australia


Cattle stations can cover large areas of countryside, and the use of smart technologies are emerging as the latest tools for farmers in optimizing workflow while reducing costs. V-TOL was tasked to utilize their drone fleet and technologies to demonstrate their applications in livestock management


Central Queensland

How we did it:

V-TOL’s Aircraft

V-TOL utlised our Goshawk Fixed Wing and Hornet Multirotor aircraft to demonstrate the uses of drones in livestock management. The Goshawk provided a long range, broad acre optical, thermal and multispectral imaging system. With its 2 hour endurance, V-TOL was able to survey 600 Ha per flight to 3 cm GSD ( or up to 1,500 Ha per flight at 7 cm GSD), providing orthomosaiced maps for autonomous Brigalow tree detection, fence line and water level inspection and more.

The Hornet aircraft provides a short range optical, thermal, multispectral, and LiDAR mapping platform. Surveying approximately 0.5-1km2 per flight, the Hornet allows for 3D models and point clouds of higher density and detail than was previously possible. With its perch and stare capability, it also provides an eye in the sky  for rapid spot assessments, including following natural disasters or for dam/trough water levels.


High resolution optical payloads are the primary data collection source for livestock management by drones. The enable broad acre orthomosaic and 3D model generation, which in turn can be used for stock counting, invasive weed detection and counting, asset inspections and water level inspections. In addition to 2D and 3D model generation, it is also used as an eye in the sky for rapid situational assessments and analysis.


The radiometric thermal cameras utilized by V-TOL Aerospace enable automatic location and counting of cattle, pest and wild animal detection, and is beginning to be used in animal health monitoring by means of temperature assessment.


Multispectral payloads are being utilized in livestock management as a means of estimating biomass and grass vigor to assist farmers in determining which paddocks to graze and which require resting. V-TOL’s aircraft can cater for a variety of multispectral camera types including Tetracam, Micasense and custom designed multispectral cameras.


The LiDAR payload is being used in farming applications for rapid asset inspection. The LiDAR payload generates a 3D point cloud for inspecting fences, sheds, bridges, and other critical infrastructure items. They are also beginning to be utilized in biomass estimation in conjunction with optical/multispectral data sets, with primary and secondary LiDAR returns estimating crop height and density.