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French firm launches drone service to monitor crops

Consumer drones manufacturer Parrot is going professional, offering data capture and analysis packages for small to medium-size businesses, starting with the agricultural and horticultural sectors.

Parrot is already a key player selling its popular Bebop and Disco models to the public.

French firm launches drone service to monitor crops

The Parrot Disco has been upgraded for its professional role to accommodate a Parrot Sequoia multi-spectral sensor. Photo: Parrot

 

However, the French company is expanding its offering, having acquired interests in a number of related-technology companies, including fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) maker Airinov and software specialists MicaSense, Pix4D and senseFly.

See also: Drone upgrade improves crop image accuracy in cloudy conditions

It is now combining products from these companies to create a crop-scouting package based on the Parrot Disco “flying wing” customised for professional use.

French firm launches drone service to monitor crops

Miniaturised Sequoia sensor captures images of crops at 14.3cm per pixel resolution. Photo: Parrot

 

Parrot Disco-Pro ag package

The Parrot Disco-Pro ag package includes the company’s Sequoia compact multispectral sensor and Skycontroller2 long-range remote control; the flightplan app Pix4Dcapture; and access to the Airinov First+ online platform for image processing into usable maps.

A reinforced fuselage enables the pusher-propeller, fixed-wing Disco-Pro Ag drone to accommodate the Sequoia sensor, which captures images of crops at 14.3cm per pixel resolution in both visible and invisible spectra, including near infrared.

Sunshine sensor records light conditions

There is also a 16MP camera and a luminosity or ‘sunshine’ sensor that records light conditions to automatically calibrate collected data, which is stored on a 64GB memory chip.

French firm launches drone service to monitor crops

Scouting flights can be pre-planned using the Pix4Dcapture app for iOS and Android smart phones and tablets. Photo: Parrot

 

Preplanned scouting route

Users can fly the drone on a preplanned scouting route covering up to 80ha in about 30 minutes or under manual control using Skyscanner2 Wi-Fi remote control with 2km range.

Automatic anti-stall is included in the drone’s on-board control system, which is activated when the craft is thrown into the air, and a 14MP nose camera can be used to capture video footage.