May23
Attack of the Drones

Attack of the Drones

In our Precision Planting test plot we identified a large amount of cutworm damage.  The field was planted with a research planter without the ability to apply a soil insecticide.  The rest of our corn had an insecticide applied and no damage was found.  Before applying a rescue treatment of insecticide I contacted our plot partners at Precision Planting to make them aware of the problem.  They were actually excited as they are currently doing a lot of testing of unmanned aerial vehicles for crop scouting.  They were at the farm within 30 minutes with three different UAVs to test.  They were looking at different cameras and flight altitude to see if they could pick up and measure the amount of cutworm damage.  Two of the UAVs were quad-copters and one was a fixed wing.  One copter and the fixed wing were totally automated. They took off, flew a predetermined pastern, and landed all on auto pilot using GPS.  The other copter is manually controlled but has a live video feed back to an Android phone mounted on the controller.  I will attempt to post a video of Ethan landing it.  Ethan is a University of Illinois Agriculture student and will be working on the farm for the summer.  He only flew the drone for a few minutes but was easily able to get it back on the ground.  Here is the video.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZwCpMK8Vb0

Ethan Flying Drone

GPS QuadCopter