Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – call them UAVs or drones or just remote-controlled airplanes – have been around for decades, but using them for agricultural practices is just really starting to take off.
A good crowd showed up for a session on UAVs sponsored by Farm Industry magazine at the recent National Farm Machinery Show where University of Kentucky (UK) mechanical engineer Dr. Suzanne Smith was one of the presenters. The UK recently announcedthe formation of an Unmanned Systems Research Consortium (USRC) to advance unmanned aerial, ground and underwater systems, and to explore commercial applications for the technology in Kentucky.
“It’s faculty members from across the university,” says Smith. “From ag, ag engineering, forestry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science – all working together to advance technologies – and we’re working with companies.”
She and other panelists entertained lots of questions from the audience at the NFMS which indicated a great deal of interest from farmers in using more advanced UAV technology. “It’s very exciting right now,” she said. “In the end it’s really time-saving and efficiency, and that’s what everybody is really looking for.”