Agriculture Victoria is developing remotely-piloted aircraft (RPA) capability to support field data collection, new sensor development and image-calibration work. The portable, unmanned autonomous drones are designed to serve as platforms for field-testing new sensor technologies, as well as collecting crop and pasture performance data in response to spatially-variable nutrient management.
The research is also using cloud based technologies to make the most of data-rich smart farms for more producers.
Sphere Drones was approached as a commercial leader in the UAV space to supply and integrate a fleet of (drone) aircraft for the ‘SmartFarms’ project. This fleet was to include six heavy lift aircraft capable of carrying full frame cameras, as well as having interchangeable payloads for various applications.
Sphere Drones supplied 4 x Matrice 600 (drone) aircraft with integrated payload mounts ready for the Agriculture Victoria (existing) cameras to be attached straight on to each system.
The payloads provided by the client for this project included RGB full frame, thermal and multispectral cameras. The integration kits were custom built by Sphere Drones to allow the most efficient and reliable operation of the equipment. In addition to the supply of aircraft and integration of payloads, Agriculture Victoria required dedicated support, follow up service, maintenance and advice on their systems and operations.
In addition to the drones, integration and support, we also secured a more compact aircraft (3DR Solo) specifically to carry their multispectral and thermal cameras. This allowed for a more specialised operation and to provide a better overall workflow.
By providing these tailored and integrated solutions with the client’s existing equipment, Agriculture Victoria had aircrafts that were substantially better prepared and more effective for the requirements from a deployment, reliability, cost, functionality and ease of use perspective.
The ongoing advice and support from Sphere Drones has also given them peace-of-mind and certainty of operations.