Tag Archives: Unmanned Systems Australia

SCHIEBEL CAMCOPTER® S-100 SUCCESSFULLY DEMONSTRATES MULTI-SENSOR CAPABILITY TO THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY

Vienna / Nowra, 16 June 2015 – Schiebel´s CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) has in a series of flights between 2 and 12 June 2015 successfully demonstrated its multi- sensor capability to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and other Australian Government Departments.

The demanding trials took place near Nowra, on the South East Coast of Australia, and encompassed multiple scenarios, performed during both the day and night. The primary goal was to provide RAN with a comprehensive understanding of how an advanced rotary wing UAS could be effectively used to support maritime and littoral Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) tasks.

CAMCOPTER S-100_Australia_01

The three key mission payloads; the Finmeccanica – Selex ES SAGE ESM and PicoSAR radar and the L-3 Wescam MX-10 were operated in realistic maritime security scenarios in the littoral and open ocean.

Hans Georg Schiebel Chairman of Schiebel said „This multi-sensor capability of the S-100 is a key element, showing the comprehensive flexibility of our proven system. We feel honored that we were invited by RAN to this demonstration.”

Selex ES highlighted how the combination of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 with their SAGE ESM and PicoSAR radar can extend the surveillance horizon of naval vessels and enhance situational awareness. The data provided by the ESM and radar sensors is
crucial to understanding the maritime environment, which was proven in demanding conditions throughout the demonstration.
The CAMCOPTER® S-100 is the only UAS in its class that is able to carry multiple sensors combined, enabling customers to gather images with an EO/IR camera, to detect and to identify electronic signatures with a ESM antenna and to use a Synthetic Aperture
Radar (SAR) in real-time with only one system.

Additionally the demonstration allowed RAN personnel to study the pre-flight, operation and post-flight procedures of the CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS.

Source: Schiebel Press Release.

PRECISIONHAWK SIGNS UAV RESEARCH AGREEMENT WITH FAA TO ADDRESS EXTENDED VISUAL LINE OF SIGHT

PrecisionHawk will work with the FAA to develop aircraft standards and operational procedures for extended line-of-sight to identify a pathway for safe integration of drones into the National Airspace System

Raleigh, NC — PrecisionHawk has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration to advance the research around unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) across rural areas. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the partnership this morning at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems Conference in Atlanta.

PrecisionHawk will be the only UAV manufacturer, joining CNN and BNSF Railway, in this partnership forged under the Pathfinder program, an operational concept validation set up by the FAA to help integrate commercial drones into the US national airspace.

“Even as we pursue our current rulemaking effort for small unmanned aircraft, we must continue to actively look for future ways to expand non-recreational UAS uses,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “This new initiative involving three leading U.S. companies will help us anticipate and address the needs of the evolving UAS industry.”

The partnership will leverage PrecisionHawk’s extensive work in the global agriculture landscape to formulate a framework for various types of UAVs, fixed wing and multi-rotor, to operate in the areas of agriculture, forestry and other rural industries. Beyond this use case focus, PrecisionHawk will also test LATAS (Low Altitude Tracking & Avoidance System) its traffic management system for UAVs. Testing will include on-aircraft transponders as well as LATAS traffic management ground-based hardware and software.  By introducing an operational tracking system that works with any UAV platform, the FAA and PrecisionHawk can safely test operations beyond visual line of sight in low risk, ‘non-populated’ areas, such as farmland.

“For the commercial drone industry to achieve its maximum technological and economic potential, we need to test reliable hardware and software solutions that will address safety. We also need to provide the data that will prove that reliability to regulators and the public,” said Christopher Dean, PrecisionHawk CEO.

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UNMANNED SYSTEMS AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES A JOINT VENTURE WITH UVS TO MARKET MARITIME UNMANNED SYSTEMS

Unmanned Systems Australia (small)

UNMANNED SYSTEMS AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES A JOINT VENTURE WITH UVS TO MARKET MARITIME UNMANNED SYSTEMS

Brisbane Australia, 27 August 2014 – Unmanned Systems Australia announces that it has agreed with UVS to jointly market Maritime Unmanned Systems.  Unmanned Systems Australia Pty Ltd is a UAS consulting and training services company that assist companies understand and enter the Unmanned Systems market.  The joint marketing of unmanned maritime systems is the first of many jointly marketed products by Unmanned Systems Australia designed to help companies market their products to a growing unmanned systems environment across various domains.

The Unmanned Systems market in Australia is experiencing a significant growth with over 130 certified commercial Unmanned Aerial operators in Australia.  The growth in the Australian market for unmanned systems has almost doubled since Jan 2014.

Unmanned Systems Australia and UVS believe that the combination of both airborne and maritime surface and sub-surface unmanned autonomous systems is a significant step forward in developing a combined maritime littoral autonomous unmanned system.

“Australia has one of the longest coastlines in the world, and significant environmental and natural resources in the waters off the coast of Australia.  Fisheries compliance, border security, coastal erosion, shark monitoring, water quality monitoring and hydrography can be greatly enhanced by the combination of both maritime and airborne systems working together” states Phil Swinsburg, Managing Director of Unmanned Systems Australia.

Phil Swinsburg says that “the joint marketing of unmanned maritime systems is the first step in a broadening number of solutions being offered to future clients.  We are also expanding our airborne unmanned system companies that we partner with to provide a turn-key package to meet a wide variety of precision agricultural, infrastructure monitoring, environmental monitoring and emergency response solutions.  We will assist companies in their approvals process with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and provide OEM training and in-country support”.

UVS provides an experienced unmanned maritime systems support capability in Australia through offices located in Newcastle, Melbourne and Perth. In the Defence market UVS supports the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) fleet of six Liquid Robotics’ Wave Glider vehicles and the REMUS Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles (AUV) operated by DSTO and Navy. In Offshore Oil & Gas UVS has extensive experience in AUVs for survey applications and ROV support including specification and sale of subsea components such as cameras, sonars, lights and connectors. The UVS engineering capability is often used by customers for application engineering and for integration of new components and payloads into ROVs and AUVs.

The Liquid Robotics Wave Glider represents an innovative new capability for instrumenting the ocean. Powered by wave action alone, the Wave Glider is capable of autonomous operation for missions in the ocean of many months. Two Wave Glider vehicles have proven the endurance of the Wave Glider by completing a 9,000 nautical mile scientific journey across the Pacific Ocean to set a new world record for the longest distance travelled by an autonomous vehicle. Applications for Wave Gliders include Meteorological Data, Security and Border Patrol, Gateway for AUVs, Environmental and Geophysical monitoring.

Both Unmanned Systems Australia and UVS believe that the combination of aerial and maritime surface and sub-surface vessels working together unlocks a significant increase in potential for unmanned autonomous systems to support maritime applications.

About Unmanned Systems Australia:

Unmanned Systems Australia Pty Ltd is a UAS Consulting Company with over 20 years’ experience in operating Unmanned Systems and has been focusing on the commercial and civil UAS marketplace since 2008.  Unmanned Systems Australia provides a turn-key solution through their UAS Business Solutions for companies and government agencies seeking to enter the unmanned market for commercial purposes.  A growing list of partnered aircraft companies provide a menu of systems available for selection tailored to the commercial market.  OEM training and after sales support is also provided.

Unmanned Systems Australia Pty Ltd ABN: 48129675770, CASA UOC License number 1-11LN0P-01, CASA Safety Consultant License Number 06/829-26.

For more information see: www.unmannedsystemsaustralia.com.au

About UVS:

UVS Pty Ltd has a history of ocean engineering excellence which dates back to the early 1980s.  In Australia, UVS Pty Ltd is the exclusive representative for many of the world’s leading marine technology manufacturers. UVS capabilities are extremely comprehensive, specialising in sales, support and custom engineering to service clients in offshore oil & gas, naval defence, oceanography, hydrographic survey, underwater communications, geophysical exploration, autonomous and remotely operated vehicles and many other complex marine applications. UVS has always been at the forefront of introducing new and innovative technologies to the region and the Liquid Robotics Wave Glider is the latest example of this philosophy.

UVS Pty Ltd A.B.N 97 150 810 898

For More Information see: http://www.uvs.com.au/

SCHIEBEL DEMONSTRATES THE CAMCOPTER® S-100 MARITIME CAPABILITIES FOR THE BRAZILIAN NAVY

Vienna, 5 June 2014 – Schiebel´s dedication to the maritime domain and its ability to respond to the evolving unmanned systems requirements lead to a series of trials for the Brazilian Navy from 2nd to 5th June near San Pedro, Brazil, from the Brazilian Amazonas Class Ship APA.

Schiebel’s unmanned helicopter CAMCOPTER® S-100 convinced representatives of the Brazilian Navy and Ministry of Defense of its outstanding capabilities as a VTOL UAS (Unmanned Air System), after series of sorties were flown from the sea near San Pedro,
Brazil (160 km east from Rio de Janeiro). In support, a number of presentations were given over four days to the attending officers, covering the unique maritime capabilities of the S-100.

S-100 CAMCOPTER fitted with SELES ES PicoSAR, L3 Wescam MX-10 and AIS Receiver
S-100 CAMCOPTER fitted with SELES ES PicoSAR, L3 Wescam MX-10 and AIS Receiver

The demonstration flights were conducted using scenarios agreed with the Brazilian Navy and designed to evaluate the capabilities of its payloads: L3 Wescam MX-10, Selex ES SAGE ESM, Selex PicoSAR Radar and AIS (Automatic Identification System), highlighting the extensive portfolio of available payloads for the CAMCOPTER® S-100.  All trials were carried out during both day and night at ranges out to 44 nautical miles with target detection out to 90 nautical miles.

The programme successfully demonstrated the CAMCOPTER® S-100 capability to meet the operational needs of Maritime Commanders in such complex, dynamic environments.

Source: Schiebel Press Release

About Schiebel:
Founded in 1951, the Vienna-based Schiebel Group of companies focuses on the development, testing and production of state-of-the-art mine detection equipment and the revolutionary CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS). Schiebel has built an international reputation for producing quality defense and humanitarian products, which are backed by exceptional after-sales service and support.  Since 2010 Schiebel offers the new division composite and is able to supply high-tech customers with this high-quality carbon fiber technology. All products are quality-controlled to meet ISO 9001 standards. With headquarters in Vienna (Austria), Schiebel now maintains production facilities in Wiener Neustadt (Austria), and Abu Dhabi (UAE), as well as offices in Washington DC (USA), and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).

S-100 CAMCOPTER with SAGE ESM fitted
S-100 CAMCOPTER with SAGE ESM fitted

About the CAMCOPTER® S-100:
Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is a proven capability for military and civilian applications. The Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates in day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km, both on land and at sea. The S-100 navigates via preprogrammed GPS waypoints or is operated with a pilot control unit. Missions are planned and controlled via
a simple point-and-click graphical user interface. High definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time. Using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by a triple-redundant flight computer, the UAV can complete its mission automatically. Its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 ft.  In its standard configuration, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 carries a 75 lbs/34 kg payload up to 10 hours and is powered with AVGas or heavy fuel.

SCHIEBEL CAMCOPTER® S-100 – WINS CONTRACT WITH THE ITALIAN NAVY

Vienna, 11 February 2014 – The Italian Navy has selected the CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS (Unmanned Air System) to provide support for its fleet, making it the first European Navy that has S-100 in operational use.

The CAMCOPTER® S-100 has already proven efficient to the Italian Navy as it was the first UAS ever to fly from an Italian ship, the ITS Bersagliere a Soldati Class frigate in April 2012. Being the UAS of choice, the unmanned helicopter will provide its increased operational ability to Italian Navy Commanders once again. The signed contract includes a system, training, integration and spare parts.

With minimal physical, logistics and manpower footprint, the S-100 is especially effective at sea. The system will provide unique degrees of flexibility, versatility and persistence on board of Italian Navy ships employed in anti-piracy missions.

CAMCOPTER_S-100

Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group of companies said, “The CAMCOPTER® S-100 continues to be a proven and highly sought after asset in maritime operations. Its ability to extend a ship commander’s visible and electronic horizon to
beyond what is conventionally possible is a powerful instrument that helps to counter possible threats, secure routes and control recourses at less operational cost. This quality has already garnered the interest of several global navies where the S-100’s
robust nature has proven effective, particularly in the unforgiving maritime environment.”

Mounted with a Wescam MX-10 and a Shine Micro AIS (Automatic Identification System), the CAMCOPTER® S-100 has the capability to collect time-critical data during uninterrupted periods of up to 6 hours, and can hover, which provides decision makers with a flexible unique means of collecting and disseminating information. Additionally, the S-100 will be mounted with a Schiebel-designed harpoon system, which supports takeoff and landing in conditions up to Sea State 5.

About the CAMCOPTER® S-100:
Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is a proven capability for military and civilian applications. The Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates in day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km, both on land and at sea. The S-100 navigates via preprogrammed GPS waypoints or is operated with a pilot control unit. Missions are planned and controlled via
a simple point-and-click graphical user interface. High definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time. Using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by a triple-redundant flight computer, the UAV can complete its mission automatically. Its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 ft. In its standard configuration, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 carries a 75 lbs/34 kg payload up to 10 hours and is powered with AVGas or heavy fuel.

For further information, please contact:
Andrea Blama
Tel: +43 (1) 546 26-44
Email: pr@schiebel.net
www.schiebel.net

or enquiries@unmannedsystemsaustralia.com.au

 

SCHIEBEL CAMCOPTER® S-100 – SUCCESSFUL INTEGRATION WITH THE FLIR SYSTEMS POLYTEC AB CORONA 350 SENSOR

Schiebel and FLIR Systems Polytec AB are proud to announce the successful integration of the Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) with the CORONA 350 Airborne Sensor. This successful integration marked the first time that this airborne sensor was flown on board a UAV.

The Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 has carried out a series of successful test flights in Grossmittel, Austria, to fully evaluate the combined capability of both systems. The Corona 350 is a four axis gyro-stabilized gimbal containing four different cameras including an ultraviolet camera for corona detection, a thermal imaging camera for detecting hot-spots in power lines, a visual light camera and a digital frame camera.

CAMCOPTER S-100_FLIR CORONA 350

What makes the Corona 350 unique is its ability to overlay its ultraviolet and color TV video data to create a combined image that allows operators to detect and identify coronal discharges – areas of ionized air – that are known to damage power line insulators and other electrical components.  The powerful combination of the Schiebel S-100 and the FLIR Corona 350 allows companies to carry out aerial inspections quickly and efficiently. Additionally it is the perfect method of reducing costs making it an ideal solution for utility companies to perform inspection and maintenance of transmission lines, distribution networks and substations.  This application typically requires repetitive surveying of power lines and is usually carried out by manned helicopters or ground patrols at significant risk to the pilot and crew. The advantage of using the unmanned CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS over manned helicopters are that the system is uniquely capable of operating with a much lower risk, can carry advanced sensors for increased stand-off distance, is significantly quieter than manned helicopters and can operate  for up to 10 hours per mission and in line of site ranges out to 200 kms.  The unmanned CAMCOPTER® S-100 UAS is also significantly lower cost per hour to run compared to manned aviation systems due to the much higher insurance and safety margins required for manned aircraft to operate in this very dangerous environment.

About the FLIR Systems Polytec AB Corona 350

The Kelvin 350 and Corona 350 series are 35 cm (14”) gimbals housing the infrared core from the FLIR Systems 660 series of infrared cameras, a HD or SD daylight video camera, and a high resolution digital still frame camera. Gimbal weight varies between 24.5 to 27 kg (54 to 59.5 lbs) depending on payload selection.

FLIR systems Corona 350

 

  • 4 axis active stabilization
    The design is four axis active gyro-stabilized based upon very low drift fiber-optic gyroscopes and a digital servo motor control system and a patented two axis linear isolator. This unique design offers outstanding stability ensuring easy steering and accurate imaging independent of aircraft movements.
  • UV camera detects Corona in broad daylight
    The corona camera is capable of detecting and producing video images of the energy generated by the corona phenomena. Corona and arcing occur by stress of the electric field which is not current dependent and therefore can only be revealed by UV inspection. The camera is highly sensitive,  3 x 10-18 watt/cm2, and fully solar-blind meaning that Corona can be visualized in full daytime. The camera contains the UV detector to image the corona and a color Day TV to image the surrounding scene. The signals from the two sensors are blended together and presented to the operator. The three field of view lens (16º /  8º / 4º) permits long range detection and close up analysis of Corona.
  • Radiometric infrared camera
    The thermal imaging camera can easily identify objects from their thermal signature or power line problems where the fault is apparent as a change in temperature. The camera contains a high definition 640×480 pixel detector that allows temperature readings either in real time or from a stored image. It delivers exceptional sensitivity, resolution, and image quality for a wide variety of airborne imaging applications. Its 0.03°C sensitivity and ±1°C accuracy means precise temperature readings.
  • MegaPixel Digital Photo camera
    The MegaPixel camera captures high resolution still images that provide visual records of faults detected by the infrared camera.
  • GPS Tagging
    GPS data is stored as part of each captured image file name thus permitting geo-referencing of fault locations, areas where animals are roaming….
  • Advanced infrared software
    The interface can transfer 16-bit radiometric data directly into the onboard PC for post-flight analysis of captured infrared images. FLIR’s Reporter Professional software permits retrieval and analysis of IR images and temperature data. It includes temperature display and analysis functions such as isotherms, line profiles, area histograms, and much more.

So far for 2013, the Schiebel CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) has had a busy year: flying at IDEX in Abu Dhabi and again at the LIMA Exhibition in Malaysia.  The CAMCOPTER S100 System continues to gain maritime experience and flight hours about the French OPV La’Adroit, and has competed successful integration of the DeckFinder Local Positioning System for automatic GPS-Independent Operation at sea and land.  Other recent development include the integration of the RIEGL VQ-820-GU Hydrographic Airborne LIDAR,  Flight operation from an Italian Navy vessel, operations in the Arctic Circle with the Russian Coast Guard and the ongoing flight performance testing and use with the latest Heavy fuel engine specifically design for demanding Naval operations.  More developments and announcements highlighting the versatility and flexibility of the CAMCOPTER S100 will be announced shortly.

About Schiebel:

Founded in 1951, the Vienna-based Schiebel Group of companies focuses on the development, testing and production of state-of-the-art mine detection equipment and the revolutionary CAMCOPTER® S-100Unmanned Air System (UAS). Schiebel has built an international reputation for producing quality defense and humanitarian products, which are backed by exceptional after-sales service and support. Since 2010 Schiebel offers the new division composite and is able to supply high-tech customers with this high-quality carbon fiber technology. All products are quality-controlled to meet ISO 9001 standards. With headquarters in Vienna (Austria), Schiebel now maintains production facilities in Wiener Neustadt (Austria), and Abu Dhabi (UAE), as well as offices in Washington DC (USA), and Phnom Penh (Cambodia).

About the CAMCOPTER® S-100:
Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is a proven capability for military andcivilian applications. The Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting launch or recovery equipment. It operates in day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km, both on land and at sea. The S-100 navigates via preprogrammed GPS waypoints or is operated with a pilot control unit. Missions are planned and controlled via a simple point-and-click graphical user interface. High definition payload imagery is transmitted to the control station in real time. Using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by a triple-redundant flight computer, the UAV can complete its mission automatically. Its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage provides capacity for a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 ft. In its standard configuration, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 carries a 75 lbs/34 kg payload up to 10 hours and is powered with AVGas or heavy fuel.

 

Agriculture the New Game of Drones

 

A few days ago the people in Deer Trail, Colorado made national news with a proposed ballot initiative to allow hunting licenses to shoot down flying drones.

Deer Trail would charge $25 for drone hunting licenses, and the town would offer a $100 bounty reward for shooters who bring in debris from an unmanned aircraft from the U.S. government.

This perfectly illustrates the growing paranoia associated with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) often referred to as drones.

But the good people living in the farming community of Deer Trail have obviously not been paying attention to the positive uses for drones, more specifically, the use of drones in agriculture.

Even though the vast majority of drone use today is government and military, one of the big emerging markets will be agriculture. Several new companies have begun moving into the ag-drone space, but there are a few short-term problems.

Current FAA rules limit their operation to under 400 feet and to steer clear of airports and crowds on the ground. But that will change in a couple years. The U.S. Congress has mandated the FAA incorporate drones into national airspace by Sept. 30, 2015.

Many in this new industry are chomping at the bit to get started. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicles International, once drones get okayed for the national air space, the first 3 years will produce $13.6 billion in economic activity and 34,000 new manufacturing jobs will get created.

The FAA estimated up to 10,000 drones could be airborne in the U.S. by 2018. Here’s why that number is far too low.

Today’s Ag Industry Drones

There are many possible uses for flying drones, and as we add capabilities, potential uses will grow dramatically.

We are limited in our thinking to what we see today, but flying drones can be built large enough to move people and houses, and small enough to be invisible to the human eye.

They provide an incredibly flexible platform, and simply adding elements like cameras, lights, audio, sensors, video projectors, or even a robotic arm can increase the utility of a drone exponentially. I’ve written about some of these possibilities in previous articles.

The automation of farming has led to fewer people tending massive estates, with many growing to tens of thousands of acres. This means there are fewer eyes inspecting crops, with less chance of catching problems like disease, infestations, soil issues, or other deficiencies.

Drones, however, have the ability to amp up awareness, giving farmers powerful tools for managing both the plant and its growing environment throughout its lifecycle.

Here are a few current examples of the type of inspections and research that can be automated through the use of drones:

  • Terrain, rock, tree, and obstacle mapping
  • Hybrid lifecycle charting
  • Chlorophyll damage detection
  • Ground cover profiling
  • Wind profile and wind shear assessment
  • Temperature and barometric pressure profiling
  • Spore, dust, pollen counts
  • Water quality assessments and survey
  • Methane, ammonia, and CO2 sensing
  • Trait assessment for breeding
  • Wireless data collection from ground sensors
  • Plant status tracking
  • Crop status (growing stage, yield estimates, etc.)
  • Precision Agriculture prescription data
  • Tiling/drainage evaluation and survey
  • Time-saving pre-assessment for field tasks
  • Oblique shots for de-tassel timing
  • Drainage estimates and topography
  • Planting evaluation and replanting requirements
  • Pathogen introduction and tracking + Weed levels
Schiebel S-100 Camcopter UAS fitted with the Riegl VQ-820 LIDAR
Schiebel S-100 Camcopter UAS fitted with the Riegl VQ-820 LIDAR

Much of the work in this industry will evolve around the following three phases of development.

Phase 1 – Data Drones

Most of the drones today are focused on developing better information about the plants, soil, and growing conditions. This information will allow farmers to be more aware of crop conditions and make better decisions.

Phase 2 – Protection Drones

Some companies are already working on Phase 2 drones capable of proactively protecting the crops from bugs, birds, disease, and other unwanted problems. Some of these capabilities will include:

  • Prevent birds from destroying high value crops
  • Identify insects, worms, and other unwanted plant devastation
  • Precision pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide application
  • Detect and track plant disease
  • Identify and thwart other wildlife that may consume or damage crops

Over time, protection drones may even be able to compensate for extreme weather conditions by applying warm foam during freezing conditions and even using wave frequencies to disrupt hail and other extreme weather conditions.

Eventually there will be flying drones with lasers mounted on them. Because of the possible dangers, their use will be highly restricted, at least for the most powerful ones. However, it’s entirely possible to visualize a type of drone capable of breaking rocks, killing pests, and even shooting mosquitoes.

Much of today’s work in this area is experimental and sounds more like science fiction than real science, but in a few years they may already be in use.

Phase 3 – Seeding, Harvesting Drones

Robotics researchers at the National Agricultural Research Center in Tsukuba, Japan have already experimented with rice-planting robots. And American farmers already ride semi-automatic tractors that use GPS positioning to plant perfect rows of wheat.

Another form of robotic seeding machine is being created by David Dorhout, founder of Dorhout R&D. His autonomous five-legged “Prospero” robot can move around in swarms with the ability to detect ideal planting spots, digging holes, planting the seeds and then applying fertilizer or herbicides.

As prices improve for specialty crops, farmers will invest heavily in automation to meet whatever unique foods consumers are demanding.

Over time, flying swarmbots will replace the ground-based drones, with thousands of tiny machines working in concert to replace the need for today’s massive pieces of equipment. Keep in mind that this will only happen if they provide farmers with a significant advantage over today’s equipment. They will need to be better, faster, cheaper, more efficient, or all of the above.

Final Thoughts

recent study by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) predicts that in a matter of years, the drone, or UAV, industry in the U.S. could produce up to 100,000 new jobs and add $82 billion in economic activity between 2015 and 2025.

Aerial drones are about to become an everyday part of our lives. This is an industry in its infancy and agriculture will be the launch point and proving ground for many others.

Farmers will become thousands of times more precise in how they apply chemicals and fertilizers, saving themselves millions in the process.

Saving farmers 1% on inputs like herbicide and pesticide, and increasing their yields by 1%, that alone is a multi-billion dollar industry.

In the end, the world will grow far more food, to far more exacting quality standards, under virtually any weather conditions. And drones will be an essential part of making this happen.

By Futurist Thomas Frey

Author of “Communicating with the Future” – the book that changes everything

Read the full article here

Two year Research Project Targets Agricultural Productivity

Project URSULA (UAS Remote Sensing for Use in Land Applications) was launched  by Welsh Assembly Minister for Rural Affairs, Elin Jones. The 2 year research and development programme will explore the potential for advanced remote sensing, using small unmanned aircraft, for use in land applications, primarily high input arable farming. The project is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government.

Gubua Group Flying Wing

URSULA will develop market-focussed data products based on imagery captured by a range of sensors mounted in small unmanned aircraft with a launch anywhere, anytime capability. Combining the innovative remote sensing platform with novel processing techniques, URSULA provides a disruptive technology which will open up new avenues for flexible, cost-effective, high resolution data provision. It is anticipated that this will accelerate the adoption of precision farming principles at a critical time for the industry.

There is a growing need for timely, accurate, detailed information on our land as we place greater pressure upon it. A rising population coupled with changes in demand and increasing scarcity of critical resources such as water and energy will place ever-increasing pressure on the land to perform multiple functions. Our food system needs to be sustainable – and economically viable – whilst adapting to climate change and contributing to climate change mitigation.

Project URSULA aims to satisfy some of these needs and provides an opportunity to develop and demonstrate a number of leading edge capabilities such as:

  • Technical agriculture
  • Environmental understanding
  • Increased flexibility in routine UAS operations
  • Advanced algorithm development and data interpretation

A key advantage of UAS remote sensing is the ability to obtain timely higher resolution data than can be currently be achieved, and to use this to drive improved performance, including:

  • Precision agriculture practices:
    • Managing fertilisers, nutrients
    • Variable seed rates
    • Soil moisture indicators
  • Yield assessment
  • Disease and stress detection:
    • Managing pesticides
    • invasive weed mapping
  • Sustainable land management

Our engagement with stakeholders and end users ensures agriculturally led data interpretation and individual farm-level knowledge makes the most of the remote sensing data.

Courtesy SUAS News

ND company specializes in aerial crop imagery

By: Jonathan Knutson

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — When David Dvorak launched Field of View in 2010, he foresaw a bright future for aerial crop imagery. Today, after working with farmers, agronomists and even a South American plantation manager, he’s more optimistic than ever.

“A few years ago, there was some behind-the-scenes interest in this,” says Dvorak, CEO of Grand Forks, N.D.-based Field of View.

Now, “I’m quietly confident there’s this perfect storm brewing where the precision agriculture market really takes off and the civil UAS (unmanned aircraft system) market takes off. They’re both on a trajectory to make that happen about the same time,” he says.

Field of View’s mission is to “bridge the gap between unmanned aircraft and precision agriculture,” according to the company’s website.

Its flagship product, GeoSnap, is an add-on device for multispectral cameras mounted on either manned or unmanned aircraft. Such cameras capture images in the red, green and near-infared bands, allowing users to visualize plant stress better than they can with most other camera systems, Dvorak says.

GeoSnap takes images captured by the multispectral camera and maps them with real-world coordinates, a process known as georeferencing. That allows users to know the aerial images’ exact location on the ground.

“It’s a very complex process. We developed a product that hopefully makes the process easier,” Dvorak says.

GeoSnap costs about $5,000 per unit, with the multispectral cameras costing about $4,000 each.

Field of View only recently began selling the add-on devices. So far, the company has sold a half-dozen, including one to NASA.

Dvorak thinks NASA will use the GeoSnap to learn more about vegetative cover on Earth, though he isn’t sure of specifics.

GeoSnap generally has drawn more interest overseas because other countries have fewer restrictions on air space, he says.

Read More: Praire News

SCHIEBEL CAMCOPTER® S-100 – COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL FLIGHT TESTS IN GPS DENIED ENVIRONMENT

Schiebel has successfully concluded a series of flight trials with EADS Astrium’s Pseudolite-based Local Positioning System “DeckFinder”, expanding its automated launch and recovery capability for operatiosn where access to GPS has been denied.

Schiebel integrated the DeckFinder Receiver Segment into a CAMCOPTER® S-100 and deployed the DeckFinder Ground Segment at the Schiebel Testing Grounds close to Vienna, Austria, earlier this year, enabling a joint team to conduct a week-long flight campaign with the goal of testing and evaluating the capabilities that DeckFinder adds in terms of highly accurate automated operations.

CAMCOPTER_S-100_125_GPS Denial
“By feeding the position data generated by the Astrium DeckFinder System directly into the avionics of our CAMCOPTER® S-100, we are now able to operate fully automatically, independent from Global Positioning Systems (GPS) during hovering, approach and landing, enabling us to launch and recover in environments that no-one has been able to perform before”, Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, explains.

DeckFinder is a Local Positioning System consisting of a ground segment of six Radio-Frequency-based Transmitters (Pseudolites) and a corresponding airborne receiver. Based on GPS-independent range measurements it provides the CAMCOPTER® avionics with highly accurate and relative 3D position information that allows the S-100 to
navigate with an accuracy better than 20 cm over the landing zone, placing Schiebel’s customers in a unique position to operate the CAMCOPTER® with high degrees of autonomy during periods of GPS denial from small vessel decks under demanding environmental conditions, a scenario that we see increasing in the future.

About the CAMCOPTER® S-100:

Schiebel’s CAMCOPTER® S-100 Unmanned Air System (UAS) is a proven capability for military and
civilian applications. The Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAS needs no prepared area or supporting
launch or recovery equipment. It operates in day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a
beyond line-of-sight capability out to 200 km, both on land and at sea. The S-100 navigates via preprogrammed
GPS waypoints or is operated with a pilot control unit. Missions are planned and controlled via
a simple point-and-click graphical user interface. High definition payload imagery is transmitted to the
control station in real time. Using “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by a triple-redundant flight computer,
the UAV can complete its mission automatically. Its carbon fiber and titanium fuselage provides capacity for
a wide range of payload/endurance combinations up to a service ceiling of 18,000 ft. In its standard
configuration, the CAMCOPTER® S-100 carries a 75 lbs/34 kg payload up to 10 hours and is powered with
AVGas or heavy fuel.

See more at Schiebel

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Unmanned Systems Australia, is the authorised distributor and on-seller of the Schiebel S-100 CAMCOPTER UAS in Australia.  Unmanned Systems Australia provides Consulting and Training Services in the area of unmanned aerial systems as well as unattended and remotely monitored ground sensors, target acquisition systems and surveillance devices.  Based in Brisbane, Australia, Unmanned Systems Australia capitalizes on over 24 years experience in the employment of Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems.

See more at www.unmannedsystemsaustralia.com.au