Month: September 2018

Fly like a bird: Artificial intelligence to assist drones navigating air currents

From many millennia humans have looked to birds soaring in the sky and had dreams of flying.

In the past 115 years, humankind has gotten pretty good at the whole powered flight thing. However, there is still plenty of knowledge we can draw from the natural world to help us fly more efficiently.

The Conversation reports that researchers based in California and Italy have sought to better understand the way soaring birds (such as albatross, hawks or eagles) find and navigate thermal updrafts to soar.

Thermals can form and dissipate at short intervals. If you’ve ever observed soaring birds fly, you’ll notice they don’t constantly flap their wings to stay aloft. Rather, they keep their wings outstretched and intuitively navigate wind currents and thermal updrafts, meaning they can stay flying for long periods while expending very little energy.

Read More: We Talk UAV

Lost stately home rediscovered by drone

Drone technology has been used to reveal the ghostly outline of a magnificent “lost” stately home demolished in the 19th century.

Londesborough Hall, near Pocklington, East Yorkshire, was the country retreat of Richard Boyle (1694-1753), the third Earl of Burlington.

In 1819 it was pulled down by Burlington’s successor, the Duke of Devonshire, and disappeared without trace.

But the long hot summer allowed an aerial photography drone to spot faint outlines of the building in the parched grass.

Peter Halkon, senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of Hull, said: “It was so dry that buried features were even visible as light brown parch marks in grass fields and lawns.

“For the first time in living memory every room in the ground plan of Londesborough Hall was revealed as if someone had painted the outline on the grass.

Read More: ITV

Autonomous drones could soon be scouting your cornfields

Just behind the old barn on a Hesston, Kansas, farmstead sits a little white shed of the future.

It houses the latest in agriculture technology—drones.

Soon, the Midwestern landscape could be dotted with hundreds of these sheds, or drone base stations, ushering farmers into a time only previously envisioned in a Star Wars movie.

Read More: High Plains Midwest Ag Journal

Drones help researchers track critically endangered swift parrots in NSW Riverina

One of Australia’s most endangered birds, the swift parrot, is being tracked by drones in the NSW Riverina, in a bid to better protect the remaining parrots and help ensure the species’ survival.

Drones technology a game changer

Dr Saunders said drone technology was a huge help in efforts to save threatened species globally.

“Until now the tracking of wildlife has relied on researchers walking for hours on end with their arm in the air searching for the signal of one animal at a time before moving onto the next animal tag,” she said.

“Wherever you can launch a drone, you can create a high point and maximise the chances of picking up that signal and search big areas very quickly.

“We have discovered that even though they are capable of long distance flights during the winter they are dependent on very small patches of habitat on farmland for their survival.

“This means that the loss of even a small bit of habitat can have huge impact on the species’ survival.”

Allie Hendy from Riverina Local Land Services said it was because of this that landholders could receive funding to protect and restore swift parrot habitat.

“A joint ANU and NSW Environment Trust project provides funding that will enable landholders to do this,” she said.

Read More: ABC News

6 ways to use a drone on the farm

By Farm and Dairy Staff

According to an April 2018 survey of 269 U.S. farmers, 76 percent of all respondents have concerns related to drone usage. Privacy issues, at 23 percent, topped the list, followed by cybersecurity concerns over data captured and transferred, and potential damage or injury from the drone.

These concerns don’t seem to be slowing adoption with a reported 76 percent of surveyed farmers considering using drones.

Read More: The Farm Dairy

*Got an idea for a drone application on your farm or property? Speak to us.

Surveying with Drones: The Key Differences Between Aerial LiDAR and Photogrammetry

The following is a guest post from Dustin Price, licensed land surveyor and operations manager at Landpoint: a surveying, aerial data and technical services provider.

There has been an influx of new and, in some cases, game-changing surveying technologies that have popped up over the past few years. Arguably the biggest of these technologies is unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which has allowed surveyors to collect data in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional methods.

The rise of UAV surveying has also created a choice for those that need aerial data: LiDAR or photogrammetry. Here are a few key ways in which these two technologies are different.

Read More: Drone Life