The new precision ag multicopter, AutoCopter SuperScout, includes three cameras, auto pilot and image processing software solutions for lease or purchase. It is the latest option for a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from AutoCopter Corporation, which has sold UAV helicopters for several years.
In the tradition of unique UAV solutions, AutoCopter created the AutoCopter SuperScout,Donal Effren, president of AutoCopter announced. This UAV has the ability to fly, capture multispectral data and process that data in the field, just like its bigger brother.
It is designed to enhance the capabilities of the crop scout in the field. Not only is it gathering real-time data and processing that data, but now variable rate prescription maps can be created in the field as well—no more waiting for processing, no more waiting for outside vendors, no more scheduling and no more delays, according to company information.
“We put several pieces of unique technology into the SuperScout,” Effren said. “When we decided to build the smaller UAV for precision ag, we knew it had to be in a similar template as the AutoCopter G15 Ag Solution. We would build an aerial technology solution with the same strict quality and performance metrics we consider necessary.”
He expanded by noting several requirements for a new UAV tool. In order to really be a precision ag solution, it must have GPS enabled auto pilot software with waypoints. Without it, one is merely flying the field without direction and there is no precision. After landing to review the pictures, you need to know where you were and where you need to go. A concern is also the quality of the images. Capturing crop images in the field with the benefit of auto pilot software is always superior to flying manually.
With the SuperScout, flights can be planned in advance. At a field, the unit is able to take off and fly a pre-determined route. This is important for two reasons: 1) the time in the air is maximized and 2) the field is covered in a precise manner. Saving a completed flight plan allows the same route to be re-flown next time—same altitude, same speed, same route and same direction.
The system includes three cameras: 1) multi-spectral camera; 2) full color camera and 3) video with live video stream to the ground control station.
Another important part of UAV imagery is the ability to know where the picture being viewed is located in a field. The geo-referencing (lat-long location) is tagged to every picture. Now the images can be reviewed in the field or any other time and locate the area of concern. Without geo-referencing this cannot be accomplished. UAVs that do random flights don’t have this potential ability, Effren explains.
The agility of the multicopter is vital in ag situations with the ability to stop, go back and/or hover over an area of concern, Effren contends. Additionally, soft vertical landings insure that quality cameras are not damaged.
Effren says the ability of the Super Scout solution to capture data and then processes it in the field is unique compared to other UAVs. This provides real-time info to assist in making informed decisions to reduce inputs and increase yields.
“If you cannot measure it you cannot manage it. If you cannot process it, all you are doing is collecting more data you will not use,” Effren said.
Marketing programs from AutoCopter allow the Super Scout to be purchased and/or leased for 24 or 36 months. “This program is both a testament to the endurance and the faith we have in all of our products,” Effren added. “If someone decides to take advantage of the Trade Up program before their lease is completed, we have made arrangements with the leasing company for them to get out of their lease early and not pay the remaining payments.”
Located in Charlotte, N.C., AutoCopter has recently added distributors to market closer to U.S. fields across the nation.