Precision Agriculture

Customer:

University of Southern Queensland

Problem:

To assist farmers in increasing yields, reduce pesticide and fertilizer use whilst simultaneously reducing the manual efforts on the farmer, USQ are utilizing drones as part of their smart farms initiatives.

 

Location:

Various locations around Toowoomba, Stanthorpe and Armidale.

 

How we did it:

V-TOL Hornet

V-TOL Aerospace used our Hornet multirotor along with optical and multi spectral (NDVI) payloads to quickly and efficiently survey the required crops. this airframe enabled V-TOL to capture multiple datasets across the visible and near infrared/red edge spectrum, over numerous crop types.

Optical Payloads

Using optical payloads on our Hornet multi rotor, V-TOL and USQ were able to generate high resolution 2D orthomosaic’s and orthorectified photos for autonomous weed detection, as well as autonomous plant counting, such as cotton balls and fruit counts.¬† 3D modelling from the high definition imagery also contributed to biomass calculations, with further applications in watershed mapping, flood analysis and earth moving calculations.

Multispectral Payloads

In conjunction with our high resolution optical payloads, V-TOL and USQ utilized custom multispectral cameras to survey broad acre crops. These multispectral captures  are then used to complement the optical captures in autonomous weed detection, plant health, biomass and yield estimation,  which in turn enable more efficient fertilizer and pesticide uses.

Furthermore, using the multispectral data, Normilized Differential Vegetation Indecies (NDVI) can be calculated to produce industry recongnisable plant health metrics. When coupled with V-TOL’s autonomous Hornet or Goshawk aircraft, regular, repeatable surveys can be completed providing rapid, accurate plant health updates that drive farming efficiencies.

Additional value-adding technologies include aerial precision spraying. When the data collection phase is combined with PPK/RTK GPS solutions, the locations of weeds can be located to a position as accurate as 20 mm. These weed positions can then be attended to by either ground or aerial sprayers. By detecting, locating and rectifying invasive weeds by autonomous means, farming efficiencies, as well as yields can be improved, whilst reducing the manual work required by the farmer.

 

Applications/uses

This cutting edge technology has many uses in precision agriculture and farming, including:

  • Weed Detection
  • Plant Health
  • Yield/Biomass Estimation
  • Pesticide, Fertilizer and Irrigation Optimisation
  • Watershed Calculation
  • Flood Mapping
  • Earthworks Planning
  • Change Over Time Analysis
  • Rehabilitation/Maintenance Planning
  • Aerial Spraying