EGNOS improves UAS navigation and, as a result, imagery mosaicking. In addition, it provides safety information that allows the safety pilot to fly the UAS to the outer limits of its line-of-sight.
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are an up-and-coming method of providing farmers with (near) real time sensing information for precision agriculture applications, like water stress monitoring, detection of nutrient deficiencies and crop diseases. With multi-spectral and thermal cameras on UAS, FieldCopter delivers the right information at the right time in the right spot. With the use of EGNOS, UAS navigation is improved and the system will be aware of GPS integrity issues.
FieldCopter has the following objectives, to:
- Integrate EGNOS on the UAV platform for improved navigation and processing;
- Foster EGNOS penetration in UAV control by addressing regulatory and legal aspects;
- Develop an application for vineyards and potato crops;
- Demonstrate FieldCopter to end users;
- Demonstrate the commercial feasibility of the solution;
- Assess the relevance and impact of EGNOS and Galileo for UAV navigation in precision agriculture;
- Organise a Stakeholder Platform;
- Organize two workshops at two conferences;
- Disseminate the FieldCopter results to the scientific community and end users.
FieldCopter develops an operational UAS-based sensing service for precision agriculture. The selected SARAH platform uses EGNOS to fly accurate pre-programmed paths. FieldCopter delivers on-demand, very high resolution maps of agricultural fields to optimise crop management. Farmers can use the maps directly in the field and/or on the tractor. The main strength of the SARAH platform is its flexibility to acquire imagery under various weather conditions, regardless of cloud coverage.
FieldCopter results in a UAS-based monitoring service. Market research primarily shows potential interest for high value crops. The project is therefore focusing on potato crops and vineyards. The FieldCopter will be equipped with state-of-the-art cameras for aerial photography in the desired spectral bands. The resulting imagery will be translated into special indices, which can be integrated in on-farm decision making about application of fertiliser, crop protection agents and water.
While operating the FieldCopter service, additional research will be conducted on new functions for the transfer of crop data into the application of doses for fertiliser and crop protection agents.