UAS Hijinks Highlights Need To Get Regulations Right For Agriculture

I’ve written a number of pieces about unmanned aerial systems (UAS) over the past several months as interest in the technology in agriculture started reaching a fever pitch. I’ve urged you to avoid using the “d” word to avoid associating ag uses of UAS with military equipment and terrorism. I’ve urged responsible use for anyone who’s taking them out for a test ride to see what they can do, lest we encourage stricter regulation. I also got after Amazon for its UAS demonstration for package delivery, which only created more negative publicity about the potential dangers of UAS mishaps and privacy invasion.

But I could not have imagined what the FAA reported recently as a near miss with a commercial airliner in Florida earlier this year. Incredible.

This unfolded as the AUVSI Unmanned Systems 2014 conference is getting underway in Orlando this week. Our man Matthew Grassi is covering the conference in the Sunshine state, and after bumping around the receptions and breaks for a couple hours on opening day, he said that people are simply amazed that someone would do something so crazy — to operate at that altitude that close to restricted airspace.

There was some spotty speculation of conspiracy of course, as there always is when something this bizarre happens, i.e., the FAA staged a near miss to force a “pumping of the brakes” on regulations. Anything is possible, but …

We’re looking forward to more reports from the conference through this week and beyond. But I do want to add one thing to the conversation in this space — namely, the necessary coexistence of UAS with aerial applicators, whenever regulations are put into place. Andrew Moore of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) is appropriately concerned about any proliferation of UAS, in particular in the Midwest. I think about all the planes out doing fungicide applications on corn in July, a prime scouting time, and wonder how it will all work together.

Andrew shared with me a couple of key components that NAAA feels are necessary to ensure safe skies in the Heartland:

1. Require UAVs be equipped with strobe lights.

2. Require the use of ADS-B, or Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast. Moore says that this technology that allows pilots in the cockpit and air traffic controllers on the ground to “see” aircraft traffic with much more precision than has been possible before.

“ADS-B relies on the satellite-based GPS system to determine an aircraft’s precise location. That information is combined with information onboard the aircraft such as aircraft type, speed, and altitude and converted to a digital transmission,” says Moore. “The information is broadcast (ADS-B Out) to other aircraft and to air traffic control.

“Aircraft equipped with a ADS-B In system can view the data on a digital display inside the cockpit. ADS-B Out is mandated for all aircraft operating in controlled airspace by 2022, ADS-B In is an optional component for aircraft but will be in place for all ATC by 2019.”

Unlike conventional radar, ADS-B works at low altitudes and on the ground so it can be used to monitor low-flying and airport traffic, notes Moore. It’s also effective in remote areas or in mountainous terrain where there is no radar coverage or where radar coverage is limited.

FAA does have a difficult job ahead, but the pressure to move quickly to resolve commercial regulations is growing by the day. Regulations must not be delayed, but they must also get it right for UAVs to be safely and successfully implemented in agriculture.

Leave a Reply

Data Management Stories
Data Science tablet
Data ManagementHow to Address the Challenges of Data Science in Agriculture
April 26, 2017
Recently, Joe Byrum wrote an excellent article on the state of machine learning in agriculture. In it, Joe highlighted one Read More
Data ManagementNew Partnership: Farmers Edge, Allied Cooperative Link Up
April 24, 2017
Farmers Edge announced it has partnered with Allied Cooperative, a provider of agronomy, feed, grain, and equipment services to growers Read More
Data ManagementFarm Market iD Launches Sales & Marketing Platform
April 20, 2017
Following Farm Market iD’s February 2017 introduction of FieldVision, its mobile data-delivery platform, the company announced today its newest online Read More
Data ManagementInnovation Series Highlights: The Weather Company’s Rob Berglund on Cognitive Computing
April 19, 2017
Rob Berglund, global director of sales, energy and agriculture at The Weather Company, discusses IBM’s Watson and applications for advanced analytics that will fundamentally change Read More
Trending Articles
GPS, Guidance
Business ManagementPromoting Precision Agricultural Innovation in a Risk Averse Marketplace
April 24, 2017
As precision agriculture consultants we constantly are being asked our opinions on where to invest, and how to strategically invest Read More
Data ManagementInnovation Series Highlights: The Weather Company’s Rob Berglund on Cognitive Computing
April 19, 2017
Rob Berglund, global director of sales, energy and agriculture at The Weather Company, discusses IBM’s Watson and applications for advanced analytics that will fundamentally change Read More
Corn close up
Data ManagementFarmers Business Network Releases State of the Industry Style Report
April 17, 2017
Farmer’s Business Network (FBN) released today its “The Voice of the Farmer”, a special research report on the state of Read More
Soybean Closeup
Ag Tech GlobalPrecision Agriculture Helps Brazilian Farmers Top 90-Bushel Soybean Yield
April 5, 2017
In the 2016/2017 harvest, the Mato Grossense Institute of Economics (IMEA) estimated that the largest soybean state in Brazil will Read More
Grower Retaile iPad
ProfessionalsField Scouting Apps Boost Efficiency, Speed
March 31, 2017
Scouting is one of the most critical services that ag retailers and consultants can offer their grower-customers. The need for Read More
Bruce Rasa corn AgVoice app
Data ManagementVoice-To-Data Tool Shows Promise For Scouting
March 24, 2017
See it, speak it, record it. No pens, no paper, no lost information. In a nutshell that’s what Bruce Rasa Read More
Latest News
Simplot Truck on Wilcox Farm
Ag Tech GlobalSimplot Taps Spensa to Power Advisor Platform
April 28, 2017
J.R. Simplot Co. announced it has entered into a partnership with Spensa Technologies Inc., an agriculture services company based in Read More
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
Ag Tech GlobalBASF Fortifies Digital Farming Offer with ZedX Acquisit…
April 27, 2017
BASF has signed an agreement to acquire US-based company ZedX, a leader in the development of digital agricultural intelligence. The Read More
Sentera
DronesSentera Announces May Release of Multispectral Double 4…
April 27, 2017
Sentera announced the release of its Multispectral Double 4K Sensor, offering five precise spectral bands: blue, green, red, red edge, Read More
Data Science tablet
Data ManagementHow to Address the Challenges of Data Science in Agricu…
April 26, 2017
Recently, Joe Byrum wrote an excellent article on the state of machine learning in agriculture. In it, Joe highlighted one Read More
Industry NewsFrom PrecisionAg with Love: Thanks, President Trump! (O…
April 26, 2017
Without getting too far into the weeds, I think it’s safe to say that today America feels more divided than Read More
Purdue Online Course
ProfessionalsPurdue University’s Online Precision Ag Course Re…
April 25, 2017
An online course offered by Purdue University’s Agronomy e-Learning Academy, Precision Agriculture, has received the 2017 Digital Education Excellence in Read More
Nuffield Scholarship
Ag Tech GlobalNuffield: Promoting the Diffusion of Knowledge of Preci…
April 24, 2017
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet John Stevenson, a 2016 Nuffield Australia Scholarship winner.  As part of the scholarship, John Read More
GPS, Guidance
Business ManagementPromoting Precision Agricultural Innovation in a Risk A…
April 24, 2017
As precision agriculture consultants we constantly are being asked our opinions on where to invest, and how to strategically invest Read More
Case IH Autonomous concept vehicle
ProfessionalsOpinion: What the Heck is A.I. Going to do for Agricult…
April 24, 2017
Let’s pause from the daily toils of ag for a minute and start thinking about the future. In a very Read More
Imagery ipad
Imagery/SensingNew Opportunities with In-season Imagery?
April 24, 2017
When I think about precision agriculture my usual thoughts are around the continuous learning about the variability in a field. Read More
Data ManagementNew Partnership: Farmers Edge, Allied Cooperative Link …
April 24, 2017
Farmers Edge announced it has partnered with Allied Cooperative, a provider of agronomy, feed, grain, and equipment services to growers Read More
Retailer Grower Tractor
ProfessionalsAg Attorney: Sorry Right to Repair Advocates, But You&#…
April 21, 2017
(via AgLaw.us) This recent article on Motherboard is getting a lot of press: “Why American Farmers are Hacking Their Tractors Read More
ProfessionalsAgFunder: Clean Seed’s Wireless Smart Seeder is Set to …
April 21, 2017
(Via AgFunderNews.com) Heard of Clean Seed Capital Group? No? You will very soon because this Canadian company has been quietly Read More
Business ManagementBionic Leaves: Future Source of Endless Fertilizer?
April 21, 2017
*Article Notes: This monthly column takes some crazy sounding ideas and applies them to the field of Ag Tech. The Read More
Sentera software
Decision Support SoftwareSentera Launching Field-Edge Plant Population Analysis …
April 20, 2017
Sentera is excited to announce the launch of its closed beta for field-edge Plant Population Analysis, available through its AgVault Read More
Data ManagementFarm Market iD Launches Sales & Marketing Platform
April 20, 2017
Following Farm Market iD’s February 2017 introduction of FieldVision, its mobile data-delivery platform, the company announced today its newest online Read More
Data ManagementInnovation Series Highlights: The Weather Company’…
April 19, 2017
Rob Berglund, global director of sales, energy and agriculture at The Weather Company, discusses IBM’s Watson and applications for advanced analytics that will fundamentally change Read More
Data ManagementInnovation Series Highlights: EFC Systems & 5 Facto…
April 19, 2017
Ernie Chappell of EFC Systems discusses five factors impacting the ag retail industry, the competitive advantages of enhanced customer engagement Read More