Ben Gielow, General Counsel of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle System International said that agriculture, far and away, is going to be the dominant market for UAV operations.
The use of commercial drones in the agriculture and framing industry is highly related to the concept of precision agriculture or satellite farming. This is a new management concept emerged in the United States in the 80’s decade. The National Research Council of the USA defines: “Precision agriculture is a management strategy that uses information technologies to bring data from multiple sources to bear on decision associated with crop production”.
According to Srinivasan (2006) and, Gebber and Adamchuk (2010) ...view middle of the document...
Sampling and mapping are core activities of PA. It is imperative to define and manage the inherent special variation of the land, for example when deciding the quantity of a nutrient or fertilizer to be applied in a specific area. Drones can help by identifying the exact areas across the farm also by colleting samples of visual and physical evidences of a spatial variation to help managers decide locally.
It is clear that managers using PA techniques try to minimize the use of resources and damage to the environment, and maximize their profit. To do it is mandatory to track how the crops respond to certain fertilizers and how the soil it self varies. From this perspective UAV are a useful instruments to identify and reach this physical locations but additionally to provide relevant information that lead to mathematical models. The Decisions Support System (DSS) is a farm management software- based information system that can be easily linked to specific devices on the drones. The DSS supports the decision- making activities, planning and operations by defining specific areas and for instance different practices will apply to each of them.
As it was already explained, the UAVs can be equipped according to the needs of the final user and precision agriculture certainly has some. A drone could be equipped with a devise for measuring the soil’s pH, so the sensors can get significant data related to nutrient status and take samples of soil to the laboratory.
UAV technology is useful for the precision farming practices by integrating key elements of geo-technology. Carter and Young point key components of geo-technology include global positioning systems (GPS), global information systems (GIS), remote sensing data, data collection devises and variable-rate controllers or robotics. This implies that the use of drones to map and define areas by remote sensing (without being in physical contact) has lots of applications. First, drones can survey landscapes and access to distant and difficult areas being guided by GPS to create 3-D maps. This is possible by stitching together thousands of digital pictures. The affordable cost of this technology represents an opportunity for SMEs to incorporate these tools to their production systems. Besides, drones can be customized for an endless variety of applications.
Compared with the traditional satellite images UAVs are more user-friendly tools and incorporates devises like thermal scanning sensors and “handheld” chlorophyll meters, so agricultural crop disease could be monitored using aerial sensor data. According to Carter and Young (p.85) there are very few groups and individuals who do not use remote sensing data in some way. The objectives are to increase the efficiency in the use of labour and other inputs such fertilizers and water to optimize production costs, scout fields for disease and pest outbreaks and to manage overall production operations better.
Before the development of GPS, images...