AGCO's UAS package enables users to scout and record aerial field data on up to 60 acres in a single flight. Agricultural imaging cameras capture RGB and near-infrared imagesSoftware developed by Agribotix will be used in AGCO’s version of the 3D Robotics Solo unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to provide a complete agriculture intelligence solution.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Jason Barton, vice president of sales for Agribotix. “Between AGCO and 3D Robotics, you have some of the leaders in their respective spaces. For them to choose us for the data processing is an honor.”

AGCO’s "all-in-one," drone-enabled package combines Agribotix's FarmLens cloud-based data platform with the purpose-built Solo AGCO edition quadcopter, which the company said gives its customers “an efficient, reliable way to collect and analyze field data for precision agriculture applications.”

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Barton said Agribotix has developed the skills to provide an end-to-end hardware and software turn-key solution.

“We’re a software company that’s gotten really good at hardware out of necessity,” he explained. “We take existing hardware off the shelf and integrate it to create the drones and the cameras that function best for precision ag.”

AGCO’s UAS package enables users to scout and record aerial field data on up to 60 acres in a single flight. Agricultural imaging cameras capture RGB and near-infrared images.

The data is uploaded to the FarmLens platform, where it’s processed to produce high-resolution field health reports to identify potential yield-limiting problems early on. These reports can then be used to optimize inputs and to address issues, leading to improved crop yields and increased profits for growers.

“Our strongest suit is really the data processing—it’s the software,” Barton said. “To marry our strongest skills with 3D Robotics’ drones and market them through AGCO’s supply chains is really drawing on the best of each partner.”

Agribotix provides the platform, service and support for the integrated solution. AGCO said its UAV is designed for easy integration with technological upgrades and enhancements.

After a flight, Barton said the user downloads the pictures from the cameras to a laptop computer and then uploads them to the Agribotix website. There, the software stitches the pictures together to provide a complete image of a field which the customer receives in four business hours.

“With the near-infrared camera—after the stitching is done—we create a false-color contrast that will show relative plant health,” Barton said. “It gives the grower a clearer idea of what’s happening in the field to know what to do to boost yields and lower costs.”

On a typical 160-acre field, Barton said a farmer could spend a week inspecting it on foot and not spot a problem. Using Agribotix’s software on a smartphone or tablet, the farmer can go directly to a potential trouble spot.

“You can just look at it and see if the problem is bugs or weeds or a piece of equipment that didn’t function properly,” Barton noted. “You can either fix it or save money by not putting chemicals down on that part.”

Barton said Agribotix is working on the next version of its software that uploads data collected by the UAS directly to the cloud.