Year: 
2021
Project Leader: 
Joshua Jackson
Department/Program: 
Biosystems & Agricultural Engineering
Funding Received: 
$779

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), commonly called drones, are increasingly being used by UK CAFE Extension specialists and Agriculture and Natural Resource (ANR) agents across the state. Creating UAV flight paths to collect images that can be used evaluate pastures, crop, and other resources is free. However, the actual analysis of the images collected isn't free. The stitching-together of the images requires dedicated software platforms. While agents could obtain their own licenses for the software, the software is not something they are going to use on a daily basis. Furthermore, having each county get its own license would not be an efficient use of its finite financial resources. Thus, obtaining a license that could be used by all agents and specialists would be ideal.

Agents have stated that they need a resource for UAV image analysis that could be viewed by other agents and specialists. The software platform under consideration (DroneDeploy) is cloud-based. Images are uploaded to the cloud and processed on the provider's servers. The 2-D and 3-D maps developed could be viewed by all interested agents.

Graduate and undergraduate students in other departments who are working with forage or crops would need this type of software to look at yield and quality differences. A UK farm manager and other staff have expressed interest as well.  This project will provide access to UAV-related image analysis and stitching software to all ANR extension agents, staff, and other specialists across the state; allow for a gauge in interest and utilization in drone-related measurements and research; and introduce undergraduate and graduate students across departments to a new form of data analysis.