Mission Planning For The Estimation Of The Field Coverage Of Unmanned Aerial Systems In Monitoring Mission In Precision Farming

Abstract: In the recent years, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) have been largely employed in civil applications, such as aerial photography and topographic mapping, environmental monitoring, search and rescue, prevent of fires and disasters, environmental research and general photography and videos. Nevertheless, according to (AUVSI, 2013), agriculture is the main application where UAS will be employed in the near future. Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are flexible, easy to use and relative low-cost; thus, they can be employed in monitoring activities in precision farming, ensuring a prompt reaction to plant disease, lack of plants nutrients and environmental changes that are the main focus for farm efficiency and productivity. Recent development in high-resolution remote sensing and image processing technology has yield to smallsize sensors compatible with small UAV payload weight. Each kind of sensor needs a certain flight pattern over the fields.
However, a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) used for specialized operations or experimental activities has to be compliant with National Civil Aviation Authority regulations. On 2015, the Italian Aviation Authority (ENAC) published the second edition of the regulatory issue for this kind of aircrafts. The aim of this paper is the management analysis of RPAS for their use in survey missions for precision faming, taking into account the Italian regulatory prescription and two different kind of commercial sensors. UAVs are considered similarly to any other farm machine, describing the operative workflow and analysing the elementary time procedures associated to the different ways of planning a flight mission of the UAS on the field to be monitored. Actual rates of works, Effective Field Capacity (EFC) and Field Efficiency (FE), field coverage and survey cost are finally provided. The analysis includes also in-field pre-flight calibration procedures.

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Authors: Gianluca Ristorto, Paolo D’Incalcib, Raimondo Galloa, Fabrizio Mazzettoa, Giorgio Guglierib

Associations: Free University of Bolzano-Bozen

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