(Source: Regina Leader Post)
Brad Hanmer has been testing out the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) at his farm in Govan this past season. The drone, valued between $12-15,000, is made by a startup based out of Burlington, Colo. called RoboFlight. The company, which was founded last June, has partnered with Saskatchewan agronomist Greg Adelman to expand its services into Canada.
Using a modified off-the-shelf camera that can see different wavelengths of light, the drone can show the amount of light that’s being absorbed and reflected by plants. This means photos that the drone takes aren’t in the colours you’d expect, with green plants showing up as red.
“It tells us the relative health, or how much photosynthesis is going on in the plant, relative to the rest of the field,” said RoboFlight chief operating officer and interim CEO Kirk Demuth during a phone interview.
Unlike satellite imagery which offers 984-foot resolutions, a drone flying 300-400 feet in the air can provide photos with sub-inch detail.
“The first picture I took we could actually see that the grower split the field five years ago. We also saw other pictures where his grandpa split the field 20 years ago, and we could see the line in the field,” said Adelman.
Made out of Styrofoam, the drone is light enough that it can be launched into the air via a slingshot-like device from the back of a pickup truck. Once it’s in the air, Adelman programs the drone to fly a grid pattern over the field. During a mission, the drone will take between 500-700 pictures
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com