The 2014 Sunbelt Ag Expo is well underway and our friend Randall Weiseman, Southeast AgNet, spoke with Miles Thompson, Robotics, Research and Test Engineer with the Georgia Tech Research Institute. He shared the latest on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) at their special exhibit during the event.
Miles believes unmanned aerial vehicles are here to stay. He said the early adopters are really pushing for it, which will lead to policy following suit.
“Right now the public sector is allowed to fly under a certification of authorization through the FAA. That is currently the way we go. We stick to the rules as they are. There are hobby rules that are under the FAA Reform Act 2012. But the major important part of there’s is to fly safely and far enough away from an airport and not to compete on an actual national air space.”
Miles has been on farms and shared this new technology with farmers and they see it as something that can really work for them in the near future. He said the aircrafts have been developed and are stable. Miniaturization of the sensor payloads are where efforts are going to technologists in the future. Miles said imagery is the main thing farmers can get with the current technology. But the goal is to be able to provide farmers with even more. This will include identification of mold, pest and their exact geo-location.
Cost is always at the heart of growers decision for investment in new technology. “As technology becomes more mature, prices will come down. We have already seen the price reduction go down by 50% from when it came out about three years ago. As it keeps going down, it will be more affordable and add value for farmers.”
Listen to the interview with Miles here: [wpaudio url=”http://www.zimmcomm.biz/UAV – Miles Thompson 10-16.mp3″ text=”Interview with Miles Thompson”]