In 2014, Airbus Defence and Space, Arvalis – Institut du végétal and Delta Drone will explore the potential offered by image and data acquired from sensors carried on-board fixed and rotary wing UAVs. Such addition of UAV data could lead to the optimisation of Farmstar Expert’s crop diagnostic and precision agriculture service offering. In the longer term, it could open up new prospects going beyond the current scope of Farmstar Expert.
Broadening the technological mix and the services provided: The first tests carried out by Delta Drone over plots of farming land have demonstrated that observation capacity with a variety of sensors can dovetail perfectly with the satellite and aircraft images today used by Farmstar Expert. Further test campaigns will therefore be launched by Airbus Defence and Space, Arvalis – Institut du végétal and Delta Drone during 2014 to further explore this new potential.
This ambitious partnership is in line with the goal of a more precisely targeted technological agriculture aimed at guaranteeing the profitability of farms, while protecting the quality of the environment.
Farmstar Expert and UAVs
Farmstar, which became Farmstar Expert in 2013, with an enhanced range of services devoted to precision agriculture and sustainable crop management, has for more than 12 years been supporting farmers looking to manage their crops with the two-fold goal of improved economic efficiency and greater respect for the environment. Created by Airbus Defence and Space and Arvalis – Institut du végétal – and then joined by CETIOM, Farmstar Expert combines satellite imaging and agronomic expertise to provide information about plant vitality and health across an entire plot. The advice it provides is a real decision-making aid, enabling nearly 15,000 farmers in France to accurately manage the fertiliser and pesticide needs of their crops, covering more than 700,000 ha (soft wheat, durum wheat, barley, triticale and rapeseed).
The Delta Drone Group designs and builds civil UAVs (Delta H, rotary wing UAV and Delta Y, fixed-wing UAV) which are part of a global service offering, from data acquisition to IT processing using a specially developed information system and including the supply of professional pilots. These pilots are trained and certified by the Ecole Française du Drone, a subsidiary of the Group. Delta Drone is today targeting 6 business sectors: mines & quarries, agriculture, energy & networks, industrial inspection, sports & leisure, mountain work.
The principle of adding UAV data to existing satellite images is a logical development for Airbus Defence and Space, which owns SurveyCopter, European leader in the development and manufacturing of mini aircraft and helicopter UAVs, providing a full range of solutions, meeting both military and civilian requirements. The trials that will be undertaken under this agreement will undoubtedly permit further opening of this particular market to UAV operations, a competition welcomed by Airbus Defence and Space.