As being the primary sector of the economy, feeding the growing world population, the agriculture domain has always been subject to numerous improvements.
As a matter of facts, countless new technologies and methods have been created or adapted to the farming industry from the first fields of Mesopotamia until today. Having the highest crop return rate at the end of the harvest is the main reason explaining why so much effort is put into the agriculture sector. Growing plants to maturity in the most efficient way regarding time, money and resources available allows to feed the maximum of people at the best price.
For the last decades, hyperspectral cameras were operated from satellites in order to evaluate the plant health of fields. However, such devices are facing several elements making their use quite unpredictable. Indeed, a field is flown over by one satellite every 3 days in average. If the weather is cloudy, the data collection will be suspended and the countdown restarts. Also, data collected from satellites have low definition due to the altitude they are recorded at and costs are generally prohibitive.
Hopefully, more accessible, precise and affordable tools have been developed. Thanks to their ability of conducting aerial remote sensing operations, drones have already been adopted as future farming solutions.
As a matter of fact, passive remote sensing solutions measuring the reflection of sunlight by leaves give precious information on the current crop state. To do so, an hyperspectral or multispectral camera is embedded on on drone and performs a scan of an area. During this operation, numerous pictures are taken by the camera of a large wavelength band from RGB to infrared. After the crop health check-up survey, data recorded are analyzed in order to spot if stress factors are perturbing the plant growth.
Several methods to analyze such data have been developed by research institutes of agriculture and technologies. Among them, the most popular are the NDVI, the Red Edge and the REIP indexes. By comparing the recorded indexes to reference ones available for each specific kind of plant, it is possible to notice if stress factors are currently altering the crop yield growth.
Thanks to the precision of the GPS coordinates recording with each picture during the flight of the UAV, finding the area that needs an intervention is made easy. Therefore, the farmer can quickly and precisely identify and work on reduced spots that are having stress factors like a lack of water, a disease, a lack of nutriments, etc.
Combining the efficiency and accuracy of a drone together with a farmer experience allows to maximize the crop return. Thanks to this smart and quick monitoring, the agriculture industry is sparing time and resources which means saving money while increasing the return on investment and making a more environmentally friendly activity.
OnyxStar crop yield management solutions for agriculture professionals or research institutes for agriculture, made of any of the OnyxStar drones, have already been approved by numerous professionals of the aerial remote sensing sector. Our UAVs can carry a broad range of hyperspectral and multispectral sensors including:
- Tetracam ADC series cameras
- Tetracam µMCA series cameras
- Specim hyperspectral cameras
- 3D-ONE Hyper view camera
Our drones equipped with hyperspectral and multipsectral cameras can perform several kind of applications including:
- Crop yield management
- Academic research
- Forest management
- Vineyard industry