Decatur, Ill.-based ADM Crop Risk Services (ADM CRS) says it has received regulatory approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to commercially operate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to expedite and improve claims processing.
ADM CRS, a subsidiary of Chicago-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), will use the UAVs to identify and measure damaged acres, corn stand counts, wind-blown or green snap acres, hail damage, and prevented planting acreage or acreage without crop vegetation.
The automated aircraft will be able to take off and land by itself. According to the exemption grant, the UAV is a DJI Phantom 2 Vision.
ADM is developing proprietary software that enables the UAVs to automatically download measurements and information as images are taken – allowing data analysis and claims processing to begin almost immediately.
ADM CRS will continue to develop and test the technology through the 2015 crop year and plans to launch the system for customers in 2016. It will initially be rolled out to customers in the Midwest first, followed by other regions.
“Our innovative UAV technology – which includes not only the vehicles, but the software to integrate them smoothly into our Aeros suite of claims software – allows us to locate and calculate crop damage and transfer that information into a claim quickly, accurately and efficiently, so our customers can get their payments faster than ever before,” says Greg Mills, president of ADM CRS.
“The FAA exemption means we are on track to have this technology in the air for our customers next year,” he notes.