An enhanced end-to-end drone solution
Innolea decided to bring on the UX11 Ag for various reasons, including its efficient operational characteristics, its highly accurate images with centimeter-level precision, and its MicaSense RedEdge MX multispectral sensor.
The Delair UX11 Ag is a small fixed-wing drone that reduces Innolea’s turnaround time to provide detailed surveys of their intensive field trial operations. With its speed of deployment and flight, the drone maps a larger number of plots in one single flight. 1,000 plots can be covered in a 10 minute flight with the UX11, and if the mission planning is included the time in the field is only 45 minutes. Using traditional methods to cover the same work, Innolea would need 10 working days in the fields.
Once airborne, real time monitoring with on-board calculation of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and red, green, and blue (RGB) gives Innolea’s teams the flexibility to adjust flights and camera setting, as well as run a first visual assessment of the trial status while they are in the fields. As a result, the UX11 Ag ROI is extremely high, enabling them to see a payback in as little as a few flights.
In addition, its ease of use makes the drone faster to set-up and deploy. “After a short training period by Delair, we were quick to adopt the drone, which is a very simple, easy-to-assemble and easy-to-carry system,” recalls Pierre George.
Another interesting feature for Innolea on the UX11 Ag is the integrated multispectral camera that allows the drone system to realize high quality, precise and repeatable plant measurements.
“With the UX11 Ag camera featuring the multispectral MicaSense RedEdge MX sensor, we can extract the most popular traits to monitor the plant behavior over the whole life cycle, such as the leaf chlorophyll content and the green biomass that are direct indicators of the plant’s vigor,” says Pierre George.
In order to measure sunflower or rapeseed plants’ various responses to heat, nitrogen or pests, Innolea has also collaborated with Delair to explore new crop notation approaches that meet their specific research needs. This includes additional vegetation index that are chosen to be relevant to the characteristics of the new varieties that are targeted.
Once an experiment is complete, Innolea can upload the aerial images collected by the drone onto an aerial data managementcloud platform and get real-time access, during the entire crop season, to advanced analytics. At the end of an experimental inspection, they can upload terabytes of images, yet only process and analyze the most relevant ones.
They have access to a set of tools for visual analysis and mapping of fields – with collaborative annotations and delineation capacities.