Swiss mini-drone manufacturer, senseFly, has launched the eBee Ag, a fully autonomous aerial imaging drone (or UAV) for precision agriculture applications.
The eBee Ag is lightweight and highly durable, and features a wide range of camera options as well as fully autonomous operation – flying, acquiring images, and landing itself.
“The eBee Ag enables growers and coop consultants to become much more precise in their work,” says Jean-Christophe Zufferey, C.E.O. of senseFly. “The detail provided by its customised cameras and its software’s index calculations allow customers to analyse crop conditions remotely and in high detail. This means less time wasted on manual checks and less reliance on low-resolution satellite images or costly airplane shots. With the accurate and timely data the eBee Ag supplies, farmers can optimise their crop management and chemical usage – saving them time, saving them money, and helping them boost their yields.”
The on-board artificial intelligence and robust lightweight construction ensure it will survive numerous flights (and landings), thus safeguarding a customer’s investment.
The eBee Ag is a fully autonomous drone. Customers simply select the area they want to map (using the supplied eMotion 2 software), launch the drone by throwing it into the air, and it flies, acquires images, and lands all by itself.
The UAV features a range of camera options to suit different applications, from biomass estimation to yield monitoring and leaf area indexing. It is supplied with a customized Canon S110 NIR, however customers can also choose a customised S110 RE (red edge) version, a S110 RGB, or the Airinov multiSPEC 4C (offering four distinct bands with no spectral overlap).
The UAV is supplied with two advanced software packages: eMotion 2 for flight planning and control; and Postflight Terra 3D photogrammetry software for post-flight image processing and analysis. Postflight Terra 3D can be used to produce false-colour orthomosaics and 3D models. Plus it includes a handy index computation tab, which allows customers to select a band, calculate NDVI, or input custom formulas in order to create the exact maps they require.
With its maximum flight time of 45 minutes, the eBee Ag can photograph areas of up to 1,000 ha (2,470 ac) in a single flight. Its default 12 MP NIR camera is capable of shooting aerial imagery at down to 2 cm / pixel. These images are then easily transformed into false-colour orthomosaics using Postflight Terra 3D software, with accuracy of down to 3 cm (1.18 in).
The eBee Ag is available to order from mid-April, 2014 via senseFly’s network of approved resellers.