Ok, now you have the hardware, but you also need to have a good software

In the purchase of a drone for agricultural use, most of them already include software to analyze the data obtained. However, these mostly allow other software to be used.

Below are some of the most popular high quality software.

PIX4D

https://pix4d.com/product/pix4dag/
  • Converts multispectral and RGB images into accurate index maps, like NDVI, and orthomosaics of your fields
  • Converts a series of aerial images into 2D orthomosaics, 3D point clouds and 3D mesh models
  • Pix4Dag, together with select multiespectral cameras, offers both desktop and cloud processing
  • Has a index calculater, that generates index maps, like NDVI
  • Index maps combine information from the reflectance maps to highlight plant health differences that are directly or indirectly related to issues such as water stress, nutrient deficiencies, pests or more

See more information here: https://pix4d.com/product/pix4dag/

AgVault

  • AgVault is an image and data management platform
  • Handles all aerial color, NIR, and NDVIdata
  • AgVault Mobile tracks crop growth stages, weeds, compaction, storm damageand more
  • AgVault Mobile photography is stored and managed alongside your aerial drone data making it a comprehensive image data solution
  • AgVault software works with many of the best ag dronesavailable today, including the DJI Mavic, Phantom 4, Phantom 3, Inspire, and Sentera Phoenix 2 and Omni
  • The price ranges from $ 5 / month to $ 29 / month

See more information here: https://sentera.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/AgVault_Lit4012D_WEB.pdf

There is also other equally interesting software, including:

One important thing is the fact that if you choose a drone without connectivity, you need to invest on it in order to have a good online coverage, if you do not already have it. You can also choose a drone with the capability of capturing and storing data locally in a format that can later be processed.

Congratulations, you are ready to start! Your agriculture will never be the same

 

References:

Now, you need the right sensor

When you buy a drone, it comes with a built-in sensor. However, many also adapt to other sensors that might please you more

  • Types of sensors

It is not enough to have the drone, it is also necessary to have a proper camera. It is necessary to acquire a high-quality camera in order to get the best possible images and get the best benefit of the use of drones in agriculture.

RGB sensors
https://www.sensefly.com/drones/accessories.html

An RGB camera delivers the three basic color components (red, green, and blue) on three different wires. This type of camera often uses three independent CCD sensors to acquire the three color signals. RGB cameras are used for very accurate color image acquisitions.

NIR sensors
https://sentera.com/omni/

These cameras take near-infrared images (NIR) and provide additional details or can see through certain obstacles that can not be accomplished with standard visible spectrum imaging cameras or are invisible to the naked eye.

NIR or Near Infrared cameras, or near infrared, are very important for the sensing in agriculture because it provides information about the physiological and health status of the plantations.

MULTISPECTRAL sensors
https://www.airinov.fr/en/drone-capteur/agronomic-sensor-airinov/multispec-ndvi-pri/

A multispectral camera captures image data at specific frequencies across the eletromagnetic spectrum.

Multispectral cameras are cameras that have multiple sensors. Each of them is a high-quality filter specific for capturing various reflected waveforms.

In this way, these cameras capture and separate the different types of color and are able to capture frequencies invisible to human eyes, such as infrared.

  • Models

Here are some of the most popular sensors for drones:

Multispec 4C Sensor
https://www.airinov.fr/en/drone-capteur/multispec-4c/
  • Compatible with all drones
  • 1,2 Mpix /1280x960px
  • 4 sensors: 550, 660, 735, 790nm
  • Low luminosity (>3000 lux)
  • Global shutter
  •  Sunshine sensor
  • SD card storage
  • IFOV : 0,9mrad / FOV : 67°x53°
  • 78x121x61mm
  • 160g
Sequoia Sensor
https://www.sensefly.com/drones/ebee-sq.html
  • Multispectral camera for agriculture
  • Self-calibrated using the Sunshine sensor
  • RGB camera 16 Mpx for scouting
  • High photo rate (1 picture per second)
  • Independent from the drone
  • Standard protocol (PTP) for communication with drones
  • USB powered

There are many other sensors like:

  • The sentera double 4k
  • The sentera quad
  • The sentera ndvi single sensor

More information here: https://sentera.com/sensors/

Remember: many of the drones that are on sale already have a camera included, but many of them can adapt to other cameras

Almost there! Now, go to STEP 3!

Click here

To get started you need to choose if you want a fixed wing or multi-rotor agriculture drone

  • The difference between a fixed wing and a multi-rotor agriculture drone

  • Multi-rotor drone

Multi-rotor drones are the most popular and are a better choice for close-in scouting, spotting, and detailed lifting tasks because they can be static in the air and take pictures and film fixed points or smaller areas.

These drones use the same principle of helicopter flying. Through mobile wings that have high rotations per minute allows the drone to fly. This type of drone is easier to control. Because they fly at a lower altitude and are slower, they can capture images with greater precision and resolution.

The multi-rotor drones have been widely used for film production, aerial photos and are the models used by the public for entertainment. The most modern batteries have an autonomy of 20 to 30 minutes.

However, multi-rotor drones also have a number of limitations. This type of drones has much less flight coverage than fixed-wing drones. The multi-rotor is not suitable for monitoring large areas because they can not travel long distances, due in particular to reduced autonomy, reduced speed, and resistance.

http://www.expandore.com/Multirotor/MULTIROTOR-index.htm
Fixed wing drone

Fixed-wing drones are a better choice when you want to cover large areas. This type of drones has a delta wing that creates the support for flight. They are more efficient due to the fact that they only need the energy to propel them forward and not to keep them in the air.

These drones can cover up to 10 times more area than a typical multi-rotor drone can cover on a single flight. However, due to the higher speed, the image taken may not have much quality.

One of the great advantages of fixed wing drones is that they have a high autonomy, with models that can remain in operation for up to 16 hours.

http://readytodrone.com/store/x5/
Type Advantages Disadvantages
 

Multi-rotor drone

Easy to use Short flights
Static flight Low autonomy
Capture high-quality images
 

Fixed wing drone

Long flights Highest cost
Great autonomy Requires some training
Large coverage area

Fixed wing drones are more expensive, typically cost $5,000 to $25,000 or more, after being fitted with sensors.

Multi-rotor drones are generally cheaper than fixed wings, starting at around $1,500-$10,000 for a professional-grade camera drone packaged with multi-spectral cameras and software for agriculture image processing.

Now see some models…

Click here