Switzerland-based drone manufacturer senseFly has expanded its portfolio by launching the new eBee SQ fixed-wing unmanned aircraft system (UAS) for agriculture.
According to senseFly, the UAS, which is fully integrated with the recently introduced Parrot Sequoia multispectral camera, combines the benefits of precise crop imaging with large ground coverage and is fully compatible with existing agricultural workflows.
senseFly notes that the arrival of the eBee SQ provides Parrot’s Sequoia camera with its very own drone: In just one flight, the multispectral sensor captures data across four highly distinct spectral bands (near-infrared, red-edge, red and green), plus visible RGB imagery.
Once the drone’s images have been processed – through a solution such as Pix4Dmapper Ag/Pro software or cloud-only solutions such as MicaSense ATLAS – the Sequoia’s broad spectral data enables numerous vegetation indices to be computed, including NDVI, NDRE, MCARI and CCCI. The resulting index maps can then be employed to assess factors such as a plant’s chlorophyll levels, a key indicator of crop health, explains senseFly.
With Pix4Dmapper Ag/Pro, these index maps can be further adapted to create exportable prescriptions (e.g., application maps).
According to senseFly, the eBee SQ can fly for up to 55 minutes on a single battery charge. This performance enables it to cover up to 500 acres in a single flight at 400 feet above ground level – up to 10 times more ground than small quadcopter drones can cover.
The result is fewer flights per project, less time spent collecting data and more time acting on it, the company says.
In addition, the eBee SQ’s supplied planning and control software, eMotion Ag, is compatible with Farm Management Information Systems (FMIS) and ag machinery. eMotion Ag was developed with input from agriculture service provider AIRINOV. Compatible with Windows OS-based PCs and tablets, the software includes direct importation of crop boundaries from the user’s FMIS.
From launch to the end of 2016, every eBee SQ will be supplied with eMotion Ag; a three-month license of MicaSense ATLAS; a one-month license of Pix4Dmapper Ag (desktop and cloud); and $200 worth of AIRINOV maps.
The company says the new drone builds on the success of the eBee platform, which has recorded more than 30,000 customer flights in seven continents.
The eBee SQ is available for purchase immediately via senseFly’s global network of distributors. It can be bought with or without the Parrot Sequoia.
“The eBee SQ allows agricultural professionals to collect highly precise data on the health of their crops efficiently and cost-effectively,” says Jean-Christophe Zufferey, CEO of senseFly. “It represents a platform-proven upgrade for those who may have been trialing drone technology – for example, by flying quadcopters over their crops – including those who already own a Parrot Sequoia. By upgrading to the eBee SQ, these operators gain a professional-grade, easy-to-use system that can cover many more acres in a single flight.”