What’s believed to be the world’s first test of its type using large unmanned aerial systems for agricultural data gathering in a public-private partnership (*Editor’s Note: this claim has been disputed by a reader who claims similar in scale and size UAV research flights have taken place back in 1995 in Hawaii and California) took place at the Hillsboro (N.D.) Municipal Airport, reports Mikkel Pates for Agweek.com.
John Nowatzki, the North Dakota State University agricultural machine systems specialist for the Extension Service, says a May 20 test was the first test of UAS vehicles for agricultural data gathering he’s heard of in the U.S. It is the first in the world, he says.
“We’re flying over large areas,” Nowatzki says, noting the footprint of the study corridor is 40 miles by 4 miles.
The Extension Service preceded the tests with Steele and Traill county public meetings and notices, specifically to address privacy concerns.
The project uses the Hermes 450, a plane that weighs 1,200 pounds and has a 35-foot wingspan. The plane is owned by Elbit Systems of Haifa, Israel. It carries up to 400 pounds of equipment and can scan at 92 mph, using an internal combustion engine.
Head on over to Agweek.com to check out the full report.