After years of a having the FAA boot on the neck of our industry, we finally got some relief on Sunday, February 15 when the Secretary of Transportation and the Administrator of the FAA announced new proposed rules.Read More
A video of Daniel McKinnon's presentation to Dronecon 2014 on what farmers really want.Read More
First-time users of the Agribotix Bring Your Own Drone™ (BYOD) image processing services often have questions about how to make sure output image products can be easily ported into existing software packages like SST or SMS and combined with existing data layers. Generally, if you're interested in precision agriculture applications, its important that imagery products be created with map information so that products are easily combined with other information like soil test or harvest yield data.
If you're planning to use the Agribotix Bring Your Own Drone™ processing system, follow this flow chart to help us create high quality georeferenced maps from your imagery. Click on the image below to go to the Agribotix Bring Your Own Drone™ page and find more detailed info.
Last summer, Agribotix set out to discover how drones could be used to help growers make better decisions. Some of you followed the journey through our blog posts, and we are grateful for all the discussion and discourse our results generated. By the end of the summer, we had the pleasure of working with dozens of growers across many states and several countries who leveraged Agribotix drones for image processing on different types of crops.
Over the course of our first full year in operation, we found that many growers are looking for a simple, cloud-based solution to process their images into actionable intelligence. Today, we're launching our drone data processing system -- Bring Your Own Drone™ (BYOD) -- to anyone flying drones for agriculture.
The service takes images from virtually any drone, stitches them and returns a single view of a field. If you send us near-IR pictures, we'll return stitched results with a false-color NDVI image as well as a shapefile that can be imported into virtually any farm management system and used as an aid to precision fertilizer application.
If you are using a 3D Robotics flight controller, you can download our Field Extractor software, which will automate the process of selecting the images for each flight, geotagging them and uploading.
We've made the process as risk-free as possible; we process your results, return a thumbnail, and you only pay if you like what you see. You can sign up and begin processing immediately. Use the Discount Code FIRST-FIELD-FREE and your first field will be processed at no cost.
If you are flying drones for agriculture, we hope you will give our service a try and let us know what you think.
-The Agribotix Team
Over the past year, many of my clients have been asking me why we use a bungee cord to launch our fixed wing Hornet drone here at Agribotix. Why not make a drone that can be hand launched? - they ask. Some have even suggested that a catapult launcher might be more convenient for field operations. I've had a lot of experience with catapults and even built my own; one of which can be viewed here. Catapults offer consistent, reliable launches but with a price: catapults are expensive because they condense several pounds of tension into about a four foot span that a bungee would normally spread over ±40 yards; catapults need to be well built to withstand the stresses they endure, and even then they often break down. Hand launches on the other hand are unreliable and often result in crashes due to operator error. I remember this well from my time in the Army where I saw a lot of this happening.
But assuming we are only working with drone professionals who know how do a hand launch properly (and also know better than to put the propeller on backwards) there is yet another reason not to go with the hand launch: doing so limits the range of your drone! This is because in order for your drone to be hand launched, it needs to have a wingspan that can produce adequate lift for takeoff at slower (hand launching) speeds. Once that same drone is in the air at cruising speed, its wingspan will produce excess drag, this is why manned aircraft have flaps. Flaps produce the extra lift at takeoff and landing needed to maintain flight at lower speeds but retract once the plane is cruising in the air so as to reduce the drag of the wingspan. Although these work well on larger airframes, they tend to complicate the design of sUAS systems to a point where they become more of a burden than an asset.
Bungee cord launches offer a happy medium between the heavy costs of catapults on the one hand, and the limiting range (and crash potential) for a hand-launched drone on the other. No matter how much battery weight your hand-launched drone is currently carrying, it could carry more and go farther if it were bungee launched. We now have a video here showing how to use our bungee cord and how it is put together (1:30) -to be sure, there is a short setup time of about 8-12 minutes, but we feel this is a small drawback when considering the alternatives discussed above.