The Roswell Flight Test Crew sits down with Dr. Gregory Crutsinger of Scholar Farms to learn about the use of drones in agriculture. An ecologist by training, Greg worked previously as a professor at the University of British Columbia before moving to Silicon Valley to advance the use of drones in agriculture. He was employed by 3D Robotics and Parrot before creating his own company: Scholar Farms. Through his company, he offers an online masterclass for drones in agriculture. Beyond simply capturing aerial photographs of fields, Greg stresses the importance of using data analytics to create actionable intelligence for farmers. Successful drone pilots will understand the markets that they are serving, whether its vineyards, orchards, nuts or other crops. Operators can begin with drones carrying visible light cameras that they already own, then move into multispectral imaging for data products such as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) as their business expands. Initial offerings can include orthomosaic imaging, video transects, 360-degree panoramic images. The key to success is building relationships with farmers, not purchasing the latest drone technology. According to Greg, drones are best suited for small-scale, high-value crops: berries, grapes, almonds and so forth.
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