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Agriculture Drone Business Takes Off

April 21, 2014
By: Tyne Morgan, Ag Day TV National Reporter
drone launch

Eyes in the sky. Already unmanned aerial systems are catching on, and gaining momentum in agriculture.

"Think of it as a cell phone, think of it as a personal computer, where it started off small, early adopters, then the technology advanced and it became more user-friendly," says Tom Nichol, Business Development Lead for AgEagle, a Kansas based business building agricultural drones.

Today, the founders are breaking ground in new aerial technology.

Watch the full story on U.S. Farm Report:

"The biggest advantage of what we provide to farmers is a chance, for the first time ever, to have an overall view of their field like they are the personal airplane, up to this point it was an expensive proposition," he says.

Unlike an actual plane, he says these aircrafts are easy to use. The brain behind the AgEagle is Brett Chilcott. He says the AgEagle comes as a package deal with three pieces of software.

"One that flies the aircraft and two that stitches the images together," says Chilcott.

He says it's a very complex system, but the complexity is what makes the UAV so easy to use.

"The easy part of flying the aircraft is simply you pull it up on your computer, a map, an overview of the field, you outline that field, and the computer automatically develops a scan pattern and tells that aircraft where to fly," Chilcott explains.

"It's all Google earth," says Jerry Fynaardt, a central Iowa farmer and AgEagle Dealer. "So you pull up your field, plot out a course and you tell the plane to fly that course and it does its thing."

When we visited AgEagle, the reliable Kansas wind prevailed, bringing 35 mile per hour gusts while they flew the UAV. Despite the winds, the AgEagle not only took off, but flew and landed seamlessly; Nichols says it was designed to be durable.

"We use fiberglass, carbon fiber, and other composites to make this aircraft tough, strong, so they can use this aircraft without being concerned they are going to damage it," he says.

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