2013, pp 169-175

Fieldcopter: unmanned aerial systems for crop monitoring services

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Abstract

Satellite remote sensing is considered to be a good source of crop monitoring information. However, regions that experience significant cloud cover are often unable to acquire timely satellite imagery. FieldCopter addresses this problem and explores how unmanned aerial systems (UAS), suitably equipped with multispectral sensors, can provide an alternative, reliable and flexible information source on crop and soil status. Calculations from hourly meteorological data show that satellite-based remote sensing has a 20% probability of producing an adequate image. However, the probability of a usable image from a light-weight, weather sensitive UAS is 45% and over 70% for an all-weather UAS. FieldCopter demonstrates that, despite cloud cover and other adverse weather conditions, the UAS will complement and enhance the performance of any satellite remote sensing service to provide imagery essential for farmers engaged in precision agriculture.