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AeroVironment donates Quantix systems for agricultural research

23rd August 2019 - 07:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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AeroVironment has launched a project aimed at advancing academic research into crop production practices to improve the future of farming through the use of UAVs and advanced data analytics.

It is the company’s 2019 University Collaboration Project, through which it has donated 87 Quantix hybrid UAVs and AV Decision Support Systems (DSS) to the agricultural departments of 35 universities throughout the US. 

These include Purdue University, Ohio State University, Cornell University, University of Louisiana-Monroe, University of Florida, University of Georgia, North Dakota State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and others.

Participating universities will employ AeroVironment’s Quantix hybrid UAV and AV DSS data analytics platform in a variety of in-field trials and research efforts, which will involve applying them to crop nutrient and input management, artificial intelligence for detecting weeds, pests and diseases, and improved accuracy of crop yield prediction. 

Participating universities will share their experiences to assess if the adoption of UAV-based technologies could help the agriculture industry.

‘Working with the team at AeroVironment moved our drone-based agriculture research forward beyond what we could have done otherwise,’ professor Quirine Ketterings from the Cornell University Nutrient Management Spear Program, said.

Featuring automated precision flight operation and a vertical take-off and landing hybrid design, Quantix is purpose-built for crop scouting, and can survey up to 400 acres in 45min. 

During flight, integrated sensors capture high-resolution colour and multispectral imagery via dual 18-megapixel cameras. 

On-board processing then wirelessly transmits true colour and normalised difference vegetation index (NDVI) imagery to the included operating tablet as soon as the drone lands, allowing growers to investigate issues while still in the field. 

For more detailed analysis, Quantix will integrate with the AV DSS to perform advanced image processing and data analytics, including true colour, NDVI, green NDVI, canopy coverage, anomaly detection and more, providing users with more insight into plant emergence, vegetative health, inputs and resource management.

‘AeroVironment’s donation of Quantix and AV DSS will enable participating universities to quickly and easily gain the on-demand field intelligence they need to advance multiple areas of agriculture research, while enhancing the understanding and application of drone-based technology,’ Rick Pedigo, vice president of business development at AeroVironment, added. 

‘With on-demand access to high resolution imagery and advanced data analytics, we’re preparing the latest generation of farmers to employ drone technology, such as Quantix and AV DSS, throughout their farming practices, improving crop production and farming efficiencies for years to come.’

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