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 ManagementEFC Announces FieldAlytics, Adapt-N Expanded Integration
July 17, 2017
EFC Systems is pleased to announce an expanded integration between its FieldAlytics product and Agronomic Technology Corp’s Adapt-N nitrogen recommendations Read More
Data ManagementOpinion: Benchmarking in Precision Agriculture is Big Statistics
July 17, 2017
Benchmarking has become a buzzword in precision agriculture recently and before we get too excited with all of the profound Read More
Yield Data Image
Data ManagementYield Data: More Than a Pretty Picture
July 13, 2017
It is mid-July, which, for the Australian cotton industry, means that picking is still going on for some growers. A Read More
Helena Spreader
Data ManagementDriving Value Through Machine Data
July 5, 2017
Telematics data is readily becoming common place thanks to smart edge devices in ag equipment. Many groups have begun storing Read More
Trending Articles
Yield Data Image
Data ManagementYield Data: More Than a Pretty Picture
July 13, 2017
It is mid-July, which, for the Australian cotton industry, means that picking is still going on for some growers. A Read More
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
ProfessionalsPatience Needed: Lessons for Getting New Tech onto the Farm
July 6, 2017
A popular joke within the tech industry was trotted out at GAI AgTech Week in Boston, MA, speaking volumes about Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
EventsPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Gavin Newsom Forbes AgTech-Summit
ProfessionalsAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Quantix Drone Farmer
DronesTop 10 Most Intriguing Technologies in Agriculture
June 3, 2017
This may be a bit of stating the obvious here, but we’ll throw it out there anyways: as much as Read More
Farming iPad
Data ManagementOpinion: ROI or Die in Precision Agriculture
May 12, 2017
The thought of $3.50 corn for the foreseeable future seems pretty disheartening. However, if you look at the precision ag Read More
Latest News
Resistant-weeds-in-Brazil
InternationalUsing Precision Agriculture to Control Herbicide-Resist…
July 24, 2017
The occurrence of weeds in agricultural fields of grain and fiber production has caused losses to farmers for a long Read More
John-Deere-and-Farm-Dog
Grower Services & SolutionsFarm Dog Strengthens its Integration with John Deere Op…
July 24, 2017
Farm Dog, the leading pest and disease management platform for growers and agronomists, has completed the second stage of its Read More
Industry NewsLindsay Corp. Names Dow’s Timothy Hassinger New C…
July 19, 2017
Lindsay Corp. has  announced the appointment of Timothy Hassinger as president and CEO and a member of its board of Read More
InfoAg 2015
Events2017 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced
July 18, 2017
PrecisionAg Institute is pleased to announce its Awards of Excellence winners for 2017. Honorees of this year’s prestigious award are Read More
Interseeding Cover Crops
ProfessionalsA 3-Step Approach to Interseeding Cover Crops
July 18, 2017
As growers continue to search for opportunities to create healthier soils and increase yields, more trusted advisors and farmers are Read More
Rod Weimer and Paul Schrimpf
Excellence AwardsPast Recipients Of The PrecisionAg Awards Of Excellence
July 18, 2017
Since 2007, the PrecisionAg Insititute has sponsored the annual Awards of Excellence program. Here's a list of the past winners. Read More
Data ManagementEFC Announces FieldAlytics, Adapt-N Expanded Integratio…
July 17, 2017
EFC Systems is pleased to announce an expanded integration between its FieldAlytics product and Agronomic Technology Corp’s Adapt-N nitrogen recommendations Read More
Data ManagementOpinion: Benchmarking in Precision Agriculture is Big S…
July 17, 2017
Benchmarking has become a buzzword in precision agriculture recently and before we get too excited with all of the profound Read More
Yield Data Image
Data ManagementYield Data: More Than a Pretty Picture
July 13, 2017
It is mid-July, which, for the Australian cotton industry, means that picking is still going on for some growers. A Read More
Industry NewsQuick Rewind: Ohio Dealer Talks Deere-Precision Plantin…
July 12, 2017
A few weeks ago I took a quick trip south down I-71 to Central Ohio (for you non-Buckeyes, I-71 runs Read More
DronesSentera Launches Versatile Quad Sensor for Drones
July 12, 2017
Fully Customizable Filters on Sentera Quad Sensor Allow for Unique Crop Health Detection Capabilities Sentera introduces the latest update to Read More
Hortau Irrigation Management Software
Sensors/IoTHortau Named Finalist for CogX Artificial Intelligence …
July 10, 2017
Hortau was recently named a CogX Award finalist in the Best Artificial Intelligence Product in Agriculture category. The awards were Read More
Grower Services & SolutionsVantage South Atlantic Announces Mid-South Expansion
July 10, 2017
Vantage South Atlantic announced that it has joined Trimble Agriculture’s global network of independent Vantage partners to provide farmers, advisors, Read More
Ag Retailer and Grower WinField United
Decision Support SoftwareAgronomic Technology Corp Surpasses Daily Nitrogen Reco…
July 6, 2017
Agronomic Technology Corp, a leader in agricultural field modeling for soil, water, crops, and fertilizer, for the first time surpassed Read More
Precision IrrigationDealership Celebrates 25 Years in the Irrigation Game
July 6, 2017
25 years ago, Bobby Kempenich had an idea. An idea to launch a business that combined his knowledge of irrigation Read More
BASF Maglis Grower Tablet
ProfessionalsPatience Needed: Lessons for Getting New Tech onto the …
July 6, 2017
A popular joke within the tech industry was trotted out at GAI AgTech Week in Boston, MA, speaking volumes about Read More
Deere R4023 cab
Business ManagementOpinion: Reality vs. Hype in Precision Agriculture
July 6, 2017
I think there is a certain word that can accurately describe much of the precision ag and/or ag tech industry right Read More
Events2017 agBOT Challenge Winners Announced
July 6, 2017
Driverless robotic machines entered the fields of Gerrish Farms in Rockville, IN in June 2017. Universities and entrepreneurial teams showcased Read More