New drone technology designed specifically for agriculture
By Top Crop Manager
September 9, 2015 – A new Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) designed and built in Ontario specifically for agricultural uses is now available.
A&L Canada Laboratories of London, Ontario has developed and equipped the first-of-its kind drone with the sensors, equipment, and software that will let farmers easily collect and interpret meaningful data related to yield determination, disease detection and more.
“We have built a plane that is a full solution – easy to fly, affordable, and with reliable software that works seamlessly,” explains Greg Patterson, Certified Crop Advisor and President of A&L Canada Laboratories. “We can have data from a plane onto a tablet on the edge of the field in 10 minutes.”
The company has also developed a multispectral sensor that can fit either into the UAV it has developed or can be retrofitted into other drones. A&L’s multispectral sensor will pick up more bandwidths of light than the currently used infrared sensors, enabling users to collect and extract more data that can be used to determine crop yield, identify nutritional disorders, or detect the presence of disease in a field.
“We’re about selling a technology that is useful to farmers in gathering crop production data, offering a solution that is practical and easy for anyone to use,” says Patterson. “Not only does our technology collect data, but we also offer the agronomy support for interpreting that data, which no one else in the industry currently does.”
A&L Canada began experimenting with UAV technology in 2009, but challenges linked to finding suitable equipment and reliable software convinced the company to design their own system from the ground up with the needs of their agricultural client base in mind.
The beta version of the UAV will be on display at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock September 15 – 17, and A&L will be taking orders for spring 2016 delivery of the units. A&L is also planning to offer customized data collection services using UAVs.
The technology will be marketed by Aero Insights Inc., a division of A&L Canada Laboratories. A&L Canada was formed in 1985 and is Canada’s largest agricultural and environmental laboratory specializing in soil, plant tissue, fertilizer and water testing.