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Drone Technology for the Turf and Landscape Industry

Rocky Mountain Regional Turf Association Denver, CO, USA December 7, 2017

Dan Staley

on 19 December 2017

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Transcript of Drone Technology for the Turf and Landscape Industry

History and Brief Background
Aerial Assessments
Aircraft, Sensors, Systems
Pilot Services

Laws, Requirements, Privacy
Drone Technology for the Turf and Landscape Industry
Drone Technology for the Turf and Landscape Industry
Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association
December 7, 2017 10:00 - 11:00
Dan Staley
Arbor Drone, LLC
All presentations on Prezi.com (search 'Dan Staley')
survey, construction, volumetric. Use what you
have from TX, others, Wendy Booth.
Figure out how to fit nursery trade
maybe one here for aerial counts and
some other place for indoor flying? (several years
out for sure)
Dan Staley, Arbor Drone LLC
Objectives & Questions
Drones and History
Aircraft Types
Sensor Types
Sensor Types
Big Picture
Hype Cycle
1. Help make a business decision on the use of drones
in your operation - turfgrass in the constructed
3. Have a good idea about what is happening with the
current and upcoming laws and privacy concerns.
Bass diffusion model modified by Staley
Norma Jeane Dougherty
Coincidence or ??
Capt. Ronald Reagan
Aircraft Types
Rotor-wing and Fixed-wing
ff and
anding (VTOL)
Sensor Types
By far the most common sensor
Standard on any decent aircraft
Photography, videography, inspections,
surveying/mapping (anything visual)
Modern UAV Development
Computing power
Thermal-InfraRed (IR)
Detects heat and emissions/reflectance in
the IR spectrum
Thermal differences allow detection of mammals,
heat in photovoltaic panels, inspection of buildings,
wind turbines
Turf stress detectable, some woody plants too
Detects light in several discrete wavelengths chosen
for a purpose
Most commonly used in agriculture, environmental,
some materials fields
Agriculture: Vegetation Indices (VIs) - NDVI
Needs third-party data processing and analysis
2. Thorough overview on the current and near-future
capabilities of drones/Unmanned Aerial Systems.
Nikola Tesla drone patent, 1898
OQ-2 Radioplane, the first mass-produced U.S. UAV -
Photo: PFC David Conover
Operator Input
Almost everything today can be automated
Takeoff, landing, route planning, many smaller inputs
(take an image every 3 seconds, shutter speed, return
when battery is x%, circle object, follow me)
Key Limitations
Batteries, batteries, batteries, batteries
Rotor-wing: ~23 minutes Fixed-wing: ~40-90 minutes
(Wind, weather - also, where to land a fixed-wing)
Legal restrictions: airports, private property, cities with
their own laws (No Drone Zones)
Technology is not a limitation
(Says everyone in the industry: bonkers
Anyone Can Fly With Practice
Visual Sensors
Current standard: 4K, 1080p, 60 frames per second (fps)
Still images ~4-6 mb, video ~500 kb/second
Resolution: 1 inch/pixel at ~125 ft.
Thermal - InfraRed Sensors
Current standard: 320-640 pixels
Still images ~2 mb
Main uses:
Plant Health Care:
Plant water stress - turf, some woody
Some indications of tree cavities
Thermal - InfraRed Sensors
Current UAV standard (at 100 m/335 ft above
ground level (AGL):
Resolution ~4-5 cm (1.5 in) ground sample
distance (GSD)
Multispectral Sensors
Each sensor is "tuned" to receive only specific
wavelengths of light in a narrow "band"
Multispectral Sensors
Hyperspectral Sensors
LiDAR Sensors
Current LiDAR sends pulses of laser light (RADAR)
Solid State LiDAR in late development stage now for
autonomous cars and trucks
Used in transmission-distribution vegetation
management, pipelines, urban areas
Other Cool Stuff
Urban spray operations - bug drops
Courtesy Dan Drooger
CCI Atomics
Coming Soon
Telemetry for drone ID and Air Traffic Control
Technology to control drone "swarms"
Good object identification and collision avoidance
Legal Topics
Laws and Regulations
Laws and Regulations
Flying for income requires UAV pilot's license
FAA - 14 CFR Part 107 ("Part 107")
Practice under Part 101 (hobbyist)
Laws and Regulations
FAA has study guides, several free on the web
Test administered at participating FAA locations
$150 fee, ~60 questions on maps, airfield ops,
weather, airspace restrictions, procedures
No flying test (!)
Current pass rate ~87%
Several inexpensive test prep courses available
On-line bookstores have additional resources
Expect 8 - 15 hours of study time to pass
Current U.S. law: property ends at 83 ft.
Above Ground Level (AGL)
All operations should take concerns of property
owners, public into account (privacy, noise)
Laws and Regulations
Cities, counties, states may pass their own regs
All aircraft over .55 lbs must be registered
FAA regulates airspace
Cities, counties etc can limit where you take off
and land - No Drone Zone (parks!)
All operations should take concerns of property
owners into account
All operations should take concerns of property
owners into account
Legal Links:

FAA Civil Operations: https://www.faa.gov/uas/civil_operations/

Start with the basics: http://knowbeforeyoufly.org/

Excellent, deep privacy discussion if you are serious about this topic - Drones and Aerial Surveillance: http://www.gwlr.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/84-Geo.-Was.-L.-Rev.-354.pdf

Good outline of what you need to know about the Part 107 test prep:

Drone law blog answering lots of Part 107 test prep questions:

3DR study guides: https://3dr.com/faa/study-guides/

Example of not-for-free study guide: http://www.asa2fly.com/Prepware-Remote-Pilot-P3575.aspx
Laws and Regulations
FAA regulates airspace - key piece missing
Flight Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)
BVLOS needed for agriculture, Utility Veg.
management, urban forest - scale flights
BVLOS possibly 2018, likely ?? (all bets off)
Bids - Surveys
Several software companies exist that process
visual data into Digital Elevation Maps (DEMs)
Majors: Pix4D, Drone Deploy, Datamapper,
Quest UAV (package)
Local data companies likely can do elevation and
surface maps as well
Bids - Surveys
Uses your drone's camera to make digital maps
of job site
Upload images to cloud, software stitches images
together, analyzes, returns images and maps
Subscription service - per month fee. "Data in a box"
service - standard outputs only
Bids - Surveys
Bids - Surveys
Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)
Bids - Surveys
Area, volume, height, plant health (which vegetation
indices depends on company), 3D, ortho., more
Nursery Work
Plant counts are almost there
Getting Started
Part of your budget at the beginning is
buying training aircraft.
Crashing a $75.00 drone to learn how to fly
is much, much better than crashing a
$1000.00 drone to learn how to fly.
Drone Equipment Costs
I do not represent any manufacturer
These are costs for the leading manufacturers and models,
plus some others that get buzz
Shop hard before you buy. DJI lowered their prices the
same way, ~the same time for the past two years
Some older models on eBay or Craigslist are a good
alternative if you aren't 100% sure - technology is much
older, so be careful (especially optics!)
Take your time!
Starter Drones
Indoor flight
Get used to controller skills & aircraft
You will crash into lampshades and plants
Drone, extra batteries, propellers:
~$75 - 100.00
Intermediate Drones
Flight in wind
You must learn what to do when in
No substitute
You will crash land, find that tree
Drone, extra batteries, propellers:
~$100 - 250.00
Intermediate Drones
Working Drone (
) Equipment Costs
Everyone has different preferences
DJI Drones
Phantom 4 (Advanced, Pro),
Inspire 1 & 2
Most Recent Company Rankings
Typhoon H, Q500
X-Star series
Extra batteries,
, case, filters, extra parts, accessories
$1250 - 2000.00
Insurance (varies by area and carrier)
Safety vests with drone outline and company logo
(advertising budget)
Other Additional Expenses
Insurance by flight or annual policy
Nice brochure for privacy door-knocking, curious
Drone operations sign
Staff Training Time
(10 hours?)
Working Drone (
) Equipment Costs
Everyone has different preferences
DJI Drones
In my opinion, consider Craigslist first. eBay too hard to see fly, too many questionable drones that I saw.

Watch, see what is going on, take your time. Look for crash evidence, see if selling for upgrade. Get as many extra batteries, case, extra parts, accessories as you can. Take your time, when you understand the used drone market, go for it, quickly. FLY THE DRONE BEFORE YOU BUY
$650 - 1500.00
Sensor Prices
Thermal - InfraRed
Some visual on screen OK, some third-party
data analysis may be needed
~$1500 - 3500.00
Sensor only, not including data analysis
~$3000 - 6500.00
Their equipment and insurance
Probably connected to data analysis service
New network for leads
How many do you need for a guarantee of a flight?
New personalities to deal with
Likely faster to deal with ATC tower & permissions
in Class B - C airspace
Another sub to keep track of
My default is always that a pilot is a good idea, at
least for a while, as a backup, their connection
to data analysis firms
Tradeoff is different for everybody - are you the
personality type who wants to fly, or to avoid risk?
Hourly rate should be ~$100-150 for a good pilot for
visual work and no post-flight data processing
Thank You!
Technology is moving faster than bonkers
Technology is making drones much safer and
more feature-rich while maintaining or
lowering price
Technology makes drones easier to fly
Technology no reason to delay any more
Sensors are improving rapidly
Sensor prices are plummeting
In a few years, thermal IR and
multispectral will be common
U.S.A. finally has commercial drone laws
Next step: BVLOS
Law cannot keep up with technology
Check locals for 'No Drone Zones'
Privacy laws may be changed by drones
Courtesy and privacy are outside the law
Software platforms exist that allow you to
use your drone for bids, light surveying
Drones in the Landscape: What can they do for you?
Idaho Horticulture Expo
January 18, 2017 2:15 - 3:15
Dan Staley
Analemma Resources, LLC
All presentations on Prezi.com (search 'Dan Staley')
Future: the sky is the limit
Paul Aiken, Boulder Daily Camera
Courtesy Bill Emison RMUASP
Drone Technology for the Turf and Landscape Industry
Rocky Mountain Regional Turfgrass Association
December 7, 2017 10:00 - 11:00
Dan Staley
Arbor Drone, LLC
All presentations on Prezi.com (search 'Dan Staley')
Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability
System (LAANC)
GTM Research
Post-flight data processing in house: varies.
Cloud software: ~ $350/month - $3000/year
subscription service
Full transcript