Agriculture has long moved away from its traditional form and now requires modern solutions. At this time when technology and AI are paramount, drones are the perfect tool for various agricultural needs. Crop health management is one of the core features offered by drones. This can cut time and costs spent on manual surveys. Drone giants like DJI also offer aerial spraying drones to disperse pesticides over hectares of fields in a matter of hours rather than days. Let’s take a look at some of the best drones for agriculture:
Fixed Wing Agriculture Drones
As the name suggests, these are fixed-wing UAVs adapted for agricultural needs. Fixed-wing drones offer several advantages over multi-rotor drones. For example, they can cover a large patch of land much faster than copters, and they have significantly better flight time. The only drawback is that these drones tend to be a little expensive and are not VTOL (Vertical Take-Off & Landing). However, fixed-wing drones are a popular choice for large-scale farms.
1. senseFly eBee Ag
The eBee Ag by senseFly is a professional agricultural drone for crop health management. The eBee Ag is one of the best fixed-wing drones for accurate data collection and great performance. The drone is equipped with senseFly’s proprietary Duet M module.
The Duet M houses the premium Parrot Sequoia multispectral sensor and senseFly’s very own S.O.D.A RGB camera. This helps the drone capture sharp and vivid images across varying lighting conditions. Additionally, users get access to eMotion, senseFly’s mission planning software that makes planning and executing drone operations seamless. The eBee also comes with optional RTK support for impeccable global accuracy. Therefore it also eliminates the need to use GCPs.
|Weight (Including camera & battery)||1.4-1.6 kg (depending on battery)|
|Cruise Speed||11-30 m/s (40-100 km/h)|
|Max Speed||30 m/s (100 km/h)|
|Survey Area Per Flight||494 acres (200 hectares)|
|Flight Time||45-55 mins depending upon battery|
|Max Flight Range||Up to 36 km|
To get a quote on the eBee Ag fill up the enquiry form here.
2. PrecisionHawk Lancaster 5
The Lancaster 5 by PrecisionHawk is a fifth-generation agricultural drone. It features two onboard Linux CPUs dedicated for autopilot control and mission and data management. The company claims that the Lancaster 5 is 180% more robust than its predecessor versions. The drone can land on rugged terrain and unfavorable field conditions.
“The Lancaster 5 comes with PrecisionHawk’s new proprietary mission planning software, InFlight. InFlight introduces a wide selection of intelligent operational capabilities that include enhanced situational awareness, smart battery swap and integrated emergency options”
Learn more about the Lancaster 5 here.
|Weight (No Payload)||2.4kg|
|Cruise Speed||12-16 m/s (43.2 – 57.6 km/h)|
|Max Speed||22 m/s (79 km/h)|
|Max Operating Altitude||2,500 m|
|Survey Area Per Flight||300 acres at 100 m altitude|
|Flight Time||Up to 45 mins|
|Transmission Range||2 km|
To order the Lancaster 5 email PrecisionHawk at email@example.com.
3. Parrot Disco-Pro Ag
The Disco Pro Ag is a fixed-wing precision agriculture drone by Parrot. It comes packed with the Parrot Sequoia, a premium multispectral sensor that captures Green, Red, Red-Edge, and Near Infrared wavelengths.The Disco Pro Ag also has a 16MP RGB sensor to capture visible data.
The Disco Pro can cover an area of up to 200 acres (80 hectares) in one flight. With hand launch and automatic safe landing mechanisms, deploying the drone is quite simple. The drone also features a sunshine sensor to record lighting conditions. Additionally, every Disco Pro user gets a 1-year subscription to AIRINOV First+, an agricultural mapping cloud service. AIRINOV can process the captured data and generate various types of vegetation maps according to your need. However, the drone does fall short on transmission range (2km).
|Weight (No Payload)||940 g|
|Survey Area Per Flight||200 acres (80 hectares) at 120 m altitude|
|Flight Time||Up to 30 mins|
|Transmission Range||2 km|
To learn more about the Disco Pro Ag contact Parrot here.
While multi-rotor drones do not offer long flight times and large coverage areas, they do have plenty of advantages. Firstly, they are more affordable compared to fixed-wing drones. Secondly, they are more modular. Most fixed-wing drones come with proprietary sensors that have little to no option for third-party sensor installation. Multi-rotor drones on the other hand can be adapted to the pilot’s skill and need. Given below are two examples of precision agriculture drones. A comprehensive list is available here.
1. Parrot Bluegrass Fields
The Parrot Bluegrass Fields is a versatile precision agriculture drone that aims to improve crop health through the data collected by its full HD RGB camera and the flagship Sequoia multispectral sensor, which can capture 4 bands of light. The drone can cover up to 160 acres (65 hectares) of land in a single flight. Since the drone is VTOL in nature, it can be deployed in seconds and its small size makes it ultra-portable.
The Bluegrass Fields drone comes with the Parrotfields mobile application that can generate real-time NDVI maps. This is extremely helpful as it cuts down on image processing time and costs.
|Weight (No Payload)||1850 g|
|Survey Area Per Flight||160 acres (65 hectares)|
|Flight Time||Up to 25 mins|
|Transmission Range||2 km|
To learn more about the Bluegrass Fields contact Parrot here.
2. Sentera Omni
Sentara’s Omni is an agricultural drone with an additional DJI XT thermal sensor for multi-dimensional insights. The Omni can capture NDVI, RGB up to 4K, and thermal imaging. According to Sentera, thermal imaging can help identify over or under-irrigated areas in a field, or even an equipment malfunction.
To learn more and order the Omni contact Sentera here.
Read more about the best multi-rotor drones for photogrammetry here.