SenseFly improves eBee Ag UAV

By Emily Aasand | April 16, 2015

SenseFly, a Swiss drone manufacturer, has added new software to its eBee Ag unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to make it easier for agricultural professionals to capture high-resolution photos of fields, analyze crop health and to gather more precise data to use in farming equipment.

The eBee Ag now runs on a new version of senseFly’s Postflight Terra 3D processing software, which is powered by Pix4D. The new program allows farmers, crop consultants and agronomists to easily transfer the UAV’s images into Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) maps, geo-referenced index maps and exportable application maps.

“The cost- and time-saving benefits of using drones to assess crop and soil health are becoming more widely known. However, a real pain point up to now has been how to analyze the data UAVs produce and put this data effectively to work,” said Jean-Christophe Zufferey, CEO and co-founder of senseFly. “The new features inside Postflight Terra 3D 3.4—supplied with every eBee Ag—make acting on the drone’s data as simple as planning its flights. Users can fly and produce quick NDVI maps of their crops, identify problem areas, create prescriptions and put them to work all on the same day.”

The operator first generates a flight plan using the drone’s supplied eMotion software. Next, the operator launches the drone on its autonomous flight where it acquires high-resolution images and then lands automatically.

Once the aircraft has landed, Postflight Terra 3D is used to create a geo-accurate NDVI map of the field. This map can be opened on any GPS-enable device to guide the user’s manual crop scouting, the company said. The same software is used to create more detailed reflectance maps of the crops, where the farmer can apply their preferred vegetation index to further analyze the crop’s health.

After the data has been created into index maps, the operator’s next step is to create a custom prescription for their fields. The application map is then exported in shapefile format and can be loaded directly into a tractor’s console, opened in the user’s preferred farm management information system or emailed to an agronomist, senseFly said.

The eBee Ag is equipped with an infrared camera, flight planning software, and image-processing and index calculation software. The new version of Postflight Terra 3D is available as an upgrade for existing eBee Ag users.

 

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