Groups fund UAS research in precision ag, forestry
"We're pleased to be partnering with the PDC to help this Oregon startup compete in an arena where Oregon's rich history of agricultural and forestry research intersect with our strengths in high technology innovation," said David Kenney, President and Executive Director of Oregon BEST. "Precision agriculture will dramatically improve the efficiency of global food production and this partnership will help position Oregon as a leader in this emerging sector."
What distinguishes HoneyComb from its competitors, Jenson said, is the relatively low cost of the drone and the integrated backend data analysis that is seamless, easy for growers to use and reliable.
"People tend to underestimate what farmers and others want," Jenson said. "They want data that's backed up by research, so having OSU a major university with strong ag and forestry programs work with us on this, we can say they did the ground truthing and correlated our data and the technology works."
Michael Wing, Assistant Professor of Geomatics in the OSU College of Forestry and Director of OSU's Aerial Information Systems Laboratory, is overseeing the OSU side of the project. The funding will allow the lab to purchase a HoneyComb UAS and use it to collect data from OSU forest land, then compare that to surveys conducted from the ground and a LiDAR database.
"The project is funding a graduate student who is very good at biometrics and geomatics and will provide the field verification to make HoneyComb's product a turn-key solution," Wing said. "Farmers won't have to worry about analyzing the data because they will get it all geo-referenced and mapped so it's immediately useful to them."
The timing of the OSU-HoneyComb collaboration coincides with the recent Federal Aviation Administration's selection of six UAS test site operators that will allow the agency to develop research findings and operational experiences to help ensure the safe integration of UAS into the nation's airspace. Oregon is part of a test operation that includes Alaska and Hawaii, with three different test sites located in Oregon near Tillamook, Pendleton, and Warm Springs.
"We're hoping to be one of the first to use the new UAS test sites, which allow us to partner with a university on the research component and to publish the results," Jenson said. "There is a lot of buzz nationally about these new sites because they should really streamline FAA approval."
HoneyComb test flights and data collection will also take place through OSU's Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center near Pendleton over crop fields located within the new UAS test site near there.
- U.S. fertilizer company owned by Koch brothers in patent dispute
- China cites public opinion in GMO soybean approval delay
- U.S, Brazil settle cotton subsidy dispute for $300 million
- Nominations open for 2015 4R Advocate Awards program
- Coalition questions legitimacy of EPA's proposed WOTUS rule
- Ag markets were decidedly mixed in Wednesday night action
- Activists fighting Golden Rice even more in 2014
- U.S. GMO labeling foes triple spending in first half of this year
- Source shows half of GMO research is independent
- White House issues veto threat on bill to block WOTUS rule
- How much corn can the ethanol industry use?
- East-West Seed signs marketing collaboration with Monsanto