- Charl Jooste
Farmers Get a Tough, Durable, and Highly Capable Drone
Commercial drone technology has been applied to many industries and the applications and benefits have been astounding. The innovation of new technologies and applications is growing at a rapid pace.
One industry, in particular, that has seen incredible advances and benefits from drone applications is agriculture. We all know how important and challenging agriculture has become with a growing population, rising input costs, constant weather turmoil and a host of other issues.
To date, drones have had a massive positive impact on farmers and the agricultural industry. They have aided the farmer with such things as mapping, crop inspection, crop monitoring and analysis, equipment inspections, weed identification and many other beneficial applications. All of these have been done fast, more efficiently and at a fraction of the normal cost through the use of drones and UAVs.
There are many companies involved in the development of the actual drones, the software, communications and the various applications. Until now this has been done in a rather piecemeal fashion.
One company at the forefront of these developments have brought all this innovation together into one perfectly rugged and robust farmland drone. California-based AeroVironment recently launched the innovative and versatile Quantix, designed and built to handle tough farming requirements.
It is a complete package specifically designed for the needs of the modern farmer and the Quantix, together with the powerful Decision Support System has a lot to offer. The drone is a cleverly designed hybrid that incorporates the convenience of vertical take-off (VTOL) with the benefits and advantages provided by fixed-wing aircraft. The impressive range allows the Quantix to fly over 400 acres in 45 minutes. As it does this, it gathers invaluable information for the farmer.
AeroVironment has more than 20 years of experience in developing UAV solutions for the U.S. military and this expertise has enabled them to create the ultimate agricultural solution.
The concept is simple enough, easy takeoff and landing, quality flight and good data collection. The Quantix executes it perfectly even in the toughest of environments. AeroVironment’s experience gives them the know-how to design a craft capable of withstanding the worst Mother Nature can throw at their equipment.
The dual onboard 18 MP cameras will gather double the amount of imagery as similar drones. Numerous other features ensure the superior quality of the footage, irrespective of light or weather conditions.
Director of sales and marketing at AeroVironment, Jonah Teeter-Balin, explains that farmers need total reliability at all times but especially during the important growing season. “A grower must be able to fly enough of a farm in one go to make a drone effective, and the data must be easy to upload and quickly returned. We provide a highly efficient, yet simple system.”
He went on to say: “Most drones have to fly close to the ground to get top resolution, but then it takes a long time to fly a 320-acre half section from low altitude. Our product captures the same resolution in one 45-minute flight. High or low altitude, we’ve got high resolution. We’re crisp and clear about how our product can perform and that’s not standard across the industry.”
They chose the fixed-wing hybrid over a quad multi-rotor aircraft for its stamina and efficiency. The main challenge with these designs is launching and landing but AeroVironment worked around this with some smart design concepts. Teeter-Balin tells us how: “We’ve got best of the quad and fixed-wing worlds. We launch and land vertically with four propellers, but we transition to a horizontal flight aircraft. That allows for great coverage and protects the investment by diminishing wear and tear.”
With the range and efficiency of the Quantix, it can efficiently take advantage of the restricted time window of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the optimal time for quality images. Essentially, it can do a lot more in less time than was previously possible.
Teeter-Balin added: “How frequently do you need to fly and how many acres do you need to cover? For a grower or a retailer, you’ve got to have a reliable product over a long period of time. Easy flight operation must be combined with easy data collection and quick processing. We know that’s what our customers expect.” Adding. “At the end of the day, we make it easy for a first-time pilot to take off, operate, land and collect data with a drone that stands up to tough physical demands,” he concludes. “It’s extremely easy to use.”
The system is powerful and will make a significant impact on the farmer’s productivity, saving time and costs and identifying problems before they become issues. It is a massive leap forward for commercial drone use in the agricultural industry.
Agriculture needs all the help it can get and the AeroVironment Quantix will have a profoundly positive impact on this industry.
SOURCES: AG Web, AeroVironment