Monday, 27 April 2015 10:39

Farmers no drones on UAV uptake

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Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 in flight. Photo by Halftermeyer (Wikimedia commons) Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 in flight. Photo by Halftermeyer (Wikimedia commons)

Farmers are among the fastest business people seeing the advantages of UAV technology, says Warren Eade of GeoSystems NZ. (UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle, or ‘drone’).

“Farmers are dealing with large scale areas and traditional methodology such as a 4WD or motorbike searching around a farm takes a lot longer,” he told Rural News. “[Data we can collect] in the space of a one-hour flight could have taken them several weeks to collect manually.”

Eade will be one of several speakers on UAVs at the upcoming MobileTECH conference in Auckland on April 29-30. He will speak about finding the right UAV amid the hundreds of designs and thousands of applications.

Those hundreds of UAVs fall into two categories: fixed wing or plane type versus multi rotor or helicopter type, he explains. 

“Within those categories there are multiple UAVs and there is no such thing as a utopian aircraft, one that does absolutely everything. They have their pluses and minuses in size, weight, ease of flight, civil aviation regulations, payloads, etc. You need to do some homework.”

Some bigger corporate farms may be interested in buying UAVs but most other farmers would use services provided by people in the industry.  His address will pitch to farmers and different agencies that have not yet made the plunge into UAV technology and are unsure what they need to consider, whether buying or using UAV services.

“Size, speed, ease of launch, portability, software are the sort of factors that come into the decision-making process on which one to buy and which one to use,” he explains. “Hopefully it will shed some light on the mysteries behind the purchasing decisions.”

UAVs can cost as little as $500, or upwards of $30,000, according to MobileTECH organisers.

Learn more

MobileTech 2015 is a major technology event focusing on UAVs, robotics and automation for primary industry businesses in Australia and New Zealand. 

Presentations will look at the evolution of UAVs and insights into the future of this technology. Leading innovations in aircraft, operating systems and human-machine interfaces will be on display and demonstrated. 

There will also be case studies highlighting UAVs now used used in farming, horticulture and forestry.


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