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Anyone use a Parrot Bluegrass Fields? Looking for a good starter drone

rhowell2

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I'm working my first professional job as a UAV pilot for a conservation agency, I've used a lot of multispectral imagery in school and with my current job. I've used several DJI drones with MAPIR and Micasense sensors. I'm contemplating getting into some agriculture analysis as a side gig (or more, depending on how well things take off).

Trying to figure out the system I would use initially is a bit of a challenge. I don't have the funds for a super high end system and would rather not take on a lot of debt, as a side gig I feel like it would be better to start off cheap and build up.

Based on the research I've done, I'm thinking on the low end I could get a P4P with a couple of MAPIR cameras for around $2500, not counting extra batteries and processing supplies. On the higher end I could either get a P4 Multispectral, or a P4 with a Micasense MX, but both of those are pushing it a little bit price wise.

I came across the Parrot Bluegrass Fields drone (which I've since learned is discontinued), and the specs and promotional videos obviously sound great. However I've never flown a Parrot drone or used Sequoia imagery. I assume the drone doesn't really compare to a DJI, but would you trust it as a potential source of income? Would you rather have a cheaper drone with a decent camera, or a decent drone with a cheaper camera? Or, is it worth it to go into a bit of debt to get something a lot better?
 

Ajkm

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For ag work, a fixed-wing drone offers better performance imho. Something like the senseFly eBee drones.
 

Florida Drone Supply

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For ag work, a fixed-wing drone offers better performance imho. Something like the senseFly eBee drones.

I feel like it is really no one-size-fits-all. It depends on what you want to accomplish. In my opinion as a boy from the mid-west drones or UAS just don't work by themselves. One really needs to use a two-phase approach. Use Manned aircraft to get high enough to see the entire field in one shot or get the proper overlap on a macro level. Then send the UAS system to look at your hot spots on a Micro level. But this is on very large farms in KS, IA, and Missouri. If you are looking at turf grass or a strawberry patch in Fl or a watermelon farm in GA these are different applications. We could go on forever, my point is saying UAS multicopter, or Fixed Wing, or Manned aircraft are too this or too that for "Agriculture" is to brood and a more personalized approach is needed.

We have been very impressed with the Phantom 4 Multispectral. But the SenseFly is a great choice, for the correct application.

Mike D
 

dougcjohn

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On similar path, not wanting to invest in Ag Payloads, SW or Winged platform yet... but on the other side of career, nearing retirement and setting up sUAV shop for new direction in Life’s Adventures. I already have a substantial investment in sUAV now for other avenues... adding Ag is fitting for MidWest, although it may be challenged by COOP’s offering the same services and they already have a long relationship established.

My opinion is a bit different on startup, I’m not for a low cost, lower quality, limited platform. I tend to go with what fits the need, learn the tools & SW and present a professional appearance with pro tools. Also not one to upgrade or need the newest, if the tool fits the need use it til something indicates a significant improvement.

I’m in IA, familiar with large and small Ag operations. The winged craft looks to be a great direction for larger fields, although an M210 and other sUAV work great too in both large & smaller sections. The sUAV may take a few more more battery swaps... but may provide more flexibility too.
On the winged crafts, I’ve never been impressed with the hand launch, belly sliding platforms compared to the VTOL platforms... but most VTOL are pricey.

Reguarding Ag focused multispectral sensors and Ag software, I feel the Sentra products & FieldAgent SW are tops. The VTOL & PPK craft for low cost & performance, is the BAAM Elipse VTOL. There PPK system is also impressive for other projects.

Good Luck on your adventures!

 

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