Students in the ASM4580 - Precision Agriculture course got up close and personal with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), as Tim Norris, CEO of Ag Info Tech explained potential uses of this up and coming technology in agriculture. Also referred to as a "drone", this term tends to receive a negative perception by the public due to military uses of drones. Educating young producers on potential applications in agriculture was the intent of this hands-on demonstration.
By hovering over fields, UAV technology can give farmers a birds-eye-view of their operation, and allow them to make crucial management decisions in real time. Examples of data collected could include plant population (i.e. stand counts) and even NDVI (plant health indicator). This technology is not yet approved for commercial use in the United States, but agricultural advocates are hopeful of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval by 2015.