UAV Systems: Don’t Call ‘Em Drones

UAV Field Day Shot In a couple of weeks, I will be in Lansing, Michigan to chat with attendees at the Michigan Agri Business Association (MABA) annual conference. The topic, one of the hottest in high technology agriculture, is unmannned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems. While we’ve burned a lot of ink and megabytes covering the UAV movement in agriculture, I’ve sought a lot of counsel from industry friends who are closer to the “frontest front lines” than I am to get some reinforcing data and perspective. Last year was a real turning point for UAVs in agriculture in particular. There were manufacturers displaying UAV technology at the InfoAg Conference in July, and their booths were always buzzing, literally and figuratively.

What statement best describes your attitude and approach to use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) systems?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Robert Blair, an Idaho farmer who’s been to Washington DC and back on a number of occasions and spoken to dozens of groups in recent years about UAV systems, says that agriculture is going to be a hot spot for commercial uses of the technology … if we steward the process properly over the next few years. Regulations will becoming from the Federal Aviation Administration related to commercial applications of UAV systems, and despite public concerns about spying, security and privacy, Blair believes that “cooler heads will prevail. But he adds that “agriculture needs to do its part by promoting the use, creating proactive resolutions for organizations, and contacting our federal elected officials.”

A small but meaningful step forward should be the elimination of the term “drones” from our vocabulary when referring to these systems ag. It’s a convenient, one syllable term, but also a media-driven lightning rod that incites all that is negative. UAV systems is a more professional, and frankly accurate description of what we’re doing … using unmanned aircraft as part of a total agronomic system, adding more data, boosting efficiency, and improving decision making.

Leave a Reply

4 comments on “UAV Systems: Don’t Call ‘Em Drones

  1. Thanks for reading, and I welcome the feedback. Well, tractors do have the benefit of not being related, in the public and media, to use as a military weapon. It is probably an impossible hill to climb, but the key point is that the professional use of UAV systems in agriculture has the potential to deliver significant benefits in ways that are beneficial to stewardship, accuracy and efficiency. Moving things forward while being saddled with the term “drone” may be an unfortunate weight we have to bear.

  2. I have a background in Radio Control Model Aircraft. I’ve been flying them since 1975. When the military first started to use “RC” aircraft they cloned the “UAV” term. I’ve folled that progress from the beginning.

    Today the newest buzz term is UAS or Unmanned Aerial System. This is the big stuff that the military and government agencies uses. For the rest of us, we will use SUAS or Small Unmanned Aerial System. In my opinion, the SUSA and UAS is a better fit as it truly is a “system” of components being used. I try to avoid the “D” word at all costs when talking about SUAS.

Data Management Stories
Soil-Corn-plants-field
Data ManagementRemote Soil-Sensed Management Zones Help Increase Crop Input Efficiency
June 18, 2018
Accurate prescription maps are essential for effective variable rate technology (VRT) fertilizer application. Grid soil sampling is frequently used to Read More
Data ManagementChecking the Box: FBN Garners Ag Data Transparent Certification
May 30, 2018
Farmers Business Network (FBN) recently completed Ag Data Transparent (ADT) third-party certification, affirming that the FBN network’s data and analytics Read More
CAMP3-team
Data ManagementHow AI, Data and Voice Analysis May Transform Farming — And Grow a New Industry in the South
May 22, 2018
In 2015, an estimated $800 million worth of crops in Georgia — a number that amounted to about 13.8% of Read More
Farmer-tablet
Data ManagementWhen It Comes to Farm Data, How Good Is ‘Good Enough’?
May 21, 2018
Ron Farrell, a frequent sounding board for my wacky ideas and a source of ongoing encouragement to stay the course Read More
Trending Articles
JDandPessl
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportunities
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key to Transforming Global Agriculture
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More
InfoAg ConferenceThe InfoAg Conference Offers Early Bird Registration Discount
May 24, 2018
Since 1995, The InfoAg Conference has been the premier event for discussion and advancement of precision agriculture. The event, organized Read More
Ernie-Chappell-Screenshot
EventsEFC Systems Sponsorship Demonstrates Commitment to Continuing Education for Retail Dealerships
May 16, 2018
Enterprise software manufacturer EFC Systems, scholarship sponsor of the inaugural PrecisionAg® Professional Accelerator professional development conference this June in Brookings, Read More
EventsMeister Media Debuts Growing Innovations
May 10, 2018
As a service provider, you and your grower customers probably can agree on this much: While innovation abounds in agriculture, Read More
UCANR_booth_Food_IT_forum
EventsForum Calling All Innovators of Agriculture Technology
May 2, 2018
The challenges that come with feeding the world continue to grow. Luckily, so do advances in information technology that are Read More
Latest News
Imagery/SensingIntelinAir, TerrAvion Partner on Ultra High Resolution …
June 21, 2018
IntelinAir has partnered with TerrAvion to deliver what it is calling a “best in class imagery solution” to joint customers Read More
Industry NewsRaven Launching CR12 Field Computer in Europe this Week
June 19, 2018
Raven Industries announced the release of a new, larger field computer: the CR12. Utilizing the same functionality as the CR7 Read More
dropcopter
DronesNew York Apple Orchard Claims World First in Pollinatio…
June 18, 2018
Beak & Skiff Apple Orchard in LaFayette, NY, is the first orchard in the world to use drones to pollinate Read More
Farmer with iPad
Decision Support SoftwareAgrian Enhances Field Scouting App
June 18, 2018
Agrian has added a new feature to its robust field scouting app – a pest trap counting solution. The new Read More
AmericasMFA Precision Head Talks Precision Ag, Cover Crops at 2…
June 18, 2018
Although implicit to anyone that spends a good chunk of their career in agriculture, the link between advanced precision technology Read More
Iron Man
UncategorizedAgFunder News: Forget Self-Driving Tractors; Agricultur…
June 18, 2018
Marvel’s Iron Man suit might seem an unlikely source of inspiration for growers, writes Joseph Byrum on AgFunderNews.com. Once the Read More
Soil-Corn-plants-field
Data ManagementRemote Soil-Sensed Management Zones Help Increase Crop …
June 18, 2018
Accurate prescription maps are essential for effective variable rate technology (VRT) fertilizer application. Grid soil sampling is frequently used to Read More
JDandPessl
Sensors/IoTJohn Deere, Pessl Instruments Team Up to Create Opportu…
June 18, 2018
John Deere is best known for its line of tractors, combines, sprayers, and implements. However, in an effort to help Read More
computer-in-field
Business Management3 Questions to Ask When Looking for Your First Job in P…
June 18, 2018
Let me begin this column by extending my congratulations to all of my fellow students who have just graduated – Read More
Robotics/Labor SaversStine Seed Plunks Down $5 Million on Smart Ag’s D…
June 14, 2018
Stine Seed Farm has invested $5 million in Smart Ag Inc., an Iowa technology firm that has developed a full Read More
David-Perry-featured-image
AmericasIndigo Touts ‘New Approach to Agricultural R&…
June 13, 2018
Indigo, the Boston-based microbial crop technology startup that has raised more than $400 million, announced it is expanding its research Read More
Ag Drone
EventsAgTech Conference of the South Dedicated to Innovation,…
June 12, 2018
Join current and emerging agtech business leaders and investors at the AgTech Conference of the South, a premiere conference dedicated Read More
Munckhof Machinefabriek equipment
EuropeEurope: Precision Farming at Heart of Munckhof Deal
June 11, 2018
One of Europe’s oldest suppliers of machinery used in fruit production, the Dutch firm Munckhof Machinefabriek, has been purchased by Read More
Australian-Farmers
Australia/New ZealandCrunching the Ag-Tech Numbers Saves Time for Australian…
June 5, 2018
Time management is key on the Walker family’s farm, where a mix between cropping, commercial sheep and two studs means Read More
Drone-exhbitor-at-Drone-Show
AmericasDroneShow Highlights UAV Technology in Latin America
June 4, 2018
Editor’s note: The DroneShow Latin America is an annual trade fair hosted by MundoGEO, a media and communications company founded Read More
Imagery/SensingImagery in Agriculture: Time for a Reality Check
June 4, 2018
Where do I begin….I’ve been dealing with imagery in agriculture since I was 10 when my dad started Satshot. At Read More
AmericasNAAA Issues Drone Pilot Reminder: Watch Out For Aerial …
May 31, 2018
With more than 1 million UAVs registered with the FAA, it is vitally important for UAV operators to be aware Read More
Matt-Waits-featured
Decision Support SoftwareSST’s Matt Waits: Innovative Data Solutions Key t…
May 31, 2018
Proagrica, part of RELX Group, earlier this year acquired U.S.-based precision agriculture solutions company, SST Software, in a move set Read More