Farm-Aiding Drone Technology Given Lift With FAA Approval
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted AGERpoint Inc., a Florida-based analytics company offering remote scanning services to growers of permanent crops, a Section 333 Exemption and a blanket Certificate of Authorization that will allow the firm to fly gasoline-powered, fixed-wing, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) anywhere in the U.S.
Using fixed-wing UAVs, AGERpoint claims its collection teams can scan between 900 and 3,000 acres per day in certain applications. The gasoline-powered, fixed-wing UAVs cab remain aloft for four to eight hours at a time, rather than needing to land and recharge after 45 minutes.
As a complement, AGERpoint has developed a mobile, remote-sensing platform that includes survey-grade GPS, multi- and hyperspectral photogrammetry, and a laser-based remote sensor (LiDAR.) With this platform, they can provide a highly accurate, three-dimensional model of each plant on a grower’s property. As a result, they are able to record significant amounts of data about the health and productivity of trees, vines, and bushes that produce fruits and nuts over multiple seasons.
According to AGERpoint, the information collected is used to create an inventory of agricultural assets that a grower can use to evaluate the health and productivity of their farms on a crop-by-crop basis.