Smart farmers

Background

Getting started with drones

DroneDeploy recently released a series of spring product launches, like Stand Assessment and a more powerful version of Live Map. Good news for farmers who have already spent many flying hours. But what if you‘re just about to get your wings? We talked to DroneDeploy about what you need to know and buy if you‘re considering investing in drone technology.

Drone Deploy’s recent spring product launches are to help growers drive field edge decisions and gather critical insights just in time for growing season.

Real-time stand counts

Among these launches are Stand Assessment and Live Map Gen 3 Beta. Stand Assessment was co-developed with Corteva Agriscience. This stand count tool is now available to all annual agriculture customers. The tool enables offline, real-time stand counts at the field’s edge, providing customers with a full field assessment in 15 minutes.

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Stand Assessment enables offline, real-time stand counts at the field’s edge, providing customers with a full field assessment in 15 minutes. - Photo: DroneDeploy
Stand Assessment enables offline, real-time stand counts at the field’s edge, providing customers with a full field assessment in 15 minutes. - Photo: DroneDeploy

Map over 200 acres in one 15-minute flight

Live Map Gen 3 Beta is now 3 times more powerful, according to DroneDeploy. The Gen 3 Beta is to make real-time mapping faster and more accurate, enabling ag users to map over 200 acres in one 15-minute flight on a single battery.

April 2021 Product Release Wrap Up | DroneDeploy

In conjunction with these new features, DroneDeploy has also compiled a Growing Season Checklist for ag professionals looking to fly their fields this year. This checklist includes budgeting, FAA Authorisation, and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) considerations, among other tips.

But what if I’m looking to invest in drone technology, how do I get started? We went back to basics with Jeff Schmidt, Chief Revenue Officer at DroneDeploy.

If I’m a farmer who has just bought a drone, I need software to actually use it. What tools do I absolutely need?

“At a most basic level, you need software that will capture and process imagery in a platform that allows you to organize and analyze your data. From there, you should consider software that will let you automate your drone flights, work and collaborate offline (especially for remote areas and at the field’s edge), give real-time insights (Live Map, Stand Assessment) and provide more detailed analysis features (i.e. Crop Health Maps, Stand Assessment).”

Why would I choose DroneDeploy? What separates DroneDeploy from other companies?

“DroneDeploy is the leading enterprise drone data company for a variety of industries, not just agriculture but also construction, energy, surveying, emergency services, and more. A few key differentiators:

  • DroneDeploy owns the processing workflow and completes it in the cloud so that you don’t need to use a desktop and can process as many maps and models at once as necessary.
  • Time to value: DroneDeploy’s easy-to-use interface and offline field-edge analysis tools make it fast and simple to get value from your drone from the first time you fly it.
  • It is the only single enterprise data solution that can capture and process imagery from any angle -- from the ground to the air, from exterior to interior, on foot, or by machine. So if you’re an agronomist walking the field with a 360-camera rather than flying a drone, DroneDeploy also processes this imagery and can pair it with all other captured site imagery in one place.
  • DroneDeploy is the first and only third-party company approved to license Corteva’s proprietary Stand Assessment Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology (which has resulted in the Stand Assessment product).”

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Stand Assessment offers an automated stand count workflow to capture and analyze the data needed to evaluate crop emergence. - Photo: DroneDeploy
Stand Assessment offers an automated stand count workflow to capture and analyze the data needed to evaluate crop emergence. - Photo: DroneDeploy

What do I get?

“As a DroneDeploy customer, you get access to DroneDeploy’s software through the DroneDeploy app (mobile, tablet, desktop). This lets you automate flights, capture imagery/data, and process and analyze your data. You also get access to DroneDeploy Academy where we have sophisticated online training. You’ll need to provide your own hardware, be it a drone, hand-held camera, robotic ground rover, etc.”

What does it cost me?

“For access to our Agriculture features like Stand Assessment and Live Map, you’ll need an annual package:

  • Precision Ag (for individuals): $ 1,200 / annual
  • Business Annual (for individuals): $ 3,588 / annual
  • Enterprise (for teams and organizations): Pricing upon request”

How do I use Stand Assessment and Live Map? What do I need in terms of hardware and software?

“You’ll need a supported iOS device with the latest version of DroneDeploy, as well as a supported drone and camera; we recommend the Mavic 2 Pro or the Phantom 4 Pro. You’ll then need the appropriate DroneDeploy package (listed above) to operate the features mentioned.”

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"DroneDeploy can be used by anyone with basic knowledge of smartphones, tablets or laptops", says Jeff Schmidt, Chief Revenue Officer at DroneDeploy.
"DroneDeploy can be used by anyone with basic knowledge of smartphones, tablets or laptops", says Jeff Schmidt, Chief Revenue Officer at DroneDeploy.

How difficult is it to use? What do I need to learn?

“DroneDeploy can be used by anyone with basic knowledge of smartphones, tablets or laptops. You simply make a flight mission in DroneDeploy, connect the drone, and hit Fly. DroneDeploy will control the drone’s path and capture the required imagery. When used for drone flights, pilots will need to remain compliant with local flight regulations and be Part 107 licensed. We offer compliance training and education through our Academy and a partnership with Airbus UTM. DroneDeploy Academy can also be tailored to your industry to best optimize our features in your particular field.”

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A drone can help growers to quickly get a clear view of how their crops are performing. DroneDeploy offers a complete package. - Photo: DroneDeploy
A drone can help growers to quickly get a clear view of how their crops are performing. DroneDeploy offers a complete package. - Photo: DroneDeploy

Where is my data stored? Do I own the data? Does anyone else have access to it?

“The data is stored in the cloud, and customers own their data. You’re able to share entire projects or individual maps/reports within a project, depending on your need.”

Is there online support?

“Yes, we offer online customer support across the globe.”

Are updates included?

“Most updates are automatically included for existing customers, though some may require additional payment depending on the package purchased.”

Also read: Drone use and adoption across hemispheres

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