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Sentera NDVI NJI Cameras

Mike Nevins

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Checked out FieldAgent today. Looks good. But I'm not willing to pay $ 5.00+ a month for just the flight software. Most flight software is free or you pay for it just one time like AutoPilot. Too bad, I would have liked to tried it.
 

FlyaDrone

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Hey if the $5/mo is costly just wait until you try to get your farmer customer to pay the "cloud" based processing fee of which many of the Sentera competitors charge. Out of the many approaches to gathering field data and analyzing it, the manner in which Sentera handles the data and gives in the field options for immediate data feedback to the farmer is BY FAR a better solution that any of their competitors. The flight control app is not the value add in this equation as it pertains to the buyer of your service, who is the farmer. If your value add model will be compromised by this fee then your margins are too slim to be bothered with approaching a very cost sensitive market for this data.

Give your self an hour of looking on the Sentera website under the Support tab and if you know enough about this agriculture market to want to service it then you will be very impressed in what Sentera has to offer. No other company has their well thought out approach to providing deliverables to the farmer. Field acceptance of this technology by the farmers is still in it's infancy and is not something they are willing to pay for.

So what does this mean, your value add is not the gathering of aerial data images regardless what light spectrum of sensor you are using. The value add proposition for your customer is can the data that you collect save him from spending more time and money on precisely managing how much water, herbicide and pesticide his crop needs throughout it's life cycle. The data that you collect is of much reduced value to the farmer if it can only be presented to him a week later because you had to go back to your office and send it off to the cloud. Other useful ancillary information might be planting density ratios and or climatic crop damage, think wind, hail and or flood damage to his crop.

You must also consider that if this market segment is going to make you any profit then just by doing the basic math involved you will soon learn that if you are going to be successful at making money with this service you will need to scale up to a fixed wing platform. The cost of batteries and in the field re-charging effort will limit you greatly when using quad drones in the number of acres that you can gather data on. So data acquisition is not going to make you enough money to pay for your time in the field unless you can fly hundreds of acres per day for as many days in a row that you can.
 
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Mike Nevins

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Well FlyaDrone, its not that the $5 per month is the issue. I was pointing out that most flight software models are not something you pay for on a monthly basis. DD, Maps Made Easy, Autopilot, Litchi, and others do NOT charge a monthly fee for their flight software. We currently use Sentera sensors, just not their flight software. You must know that the immediate data is NOT full resolution. If you want full resolution, it must be submitted to their cloud for processing. You have no idea what my "Values Add" is to the farmer. There are many components that comprise our "value-add", its not singular.

And I respectfully disagree that "No other company has their well thought out approach to providing deliverables" to the farmer. Quite the contrary in fact, but I will let you figure that out on your own. You stated "The data that you collect is of much reduced value to the farmer if it can only be presented to him a week later because you had to go back to your office and send it off to the cloud." Where did you get that idea? Not from me, not because of using a cloud platform! We don't deliver "week later", but rather the same day (Depending on the time of the flight), and at the latest, the next day. So your statement is inaccurate or out of ignorance. Your statement "you will need to scale up to a fixed wing platform" is completely wrong. You see, in my area most Vineyards are less that 50 acres, most are around 20 or less. Try flying that with a fixed wing platform. Not very applicable. Second, golf courses that we service are less than 380 acres. We break them down into blocks (Just like vineyards do), much more manageable and we fly them just fine without the use of a fixed wing.

In regards to batteries, we are all limited by actual flight time. But most here will tell you that while the flight app will take into account multi-battery flights, most flights can be done without swapping batteries. We can map 45 acres on one battery (depending on settings) and I don't have to worry about landing a fixed wing somewhere. Lastly, you said "So data acquisition is not going to make you enough money to pay for your time in the field unless you can fly hundreds of acres per day for as many days in a row that you can." Wrong again. What do you mean "hundreds" of acres? 200, 500, 800 a day? I can make money flying an aggregate quarry (Less then 30 acres) you can see it on my web site. Actual flights, making real money.

I am sorry to have rebuked you on so many different levels, but some of the things you are stating are just not true. I do mean this to be instructive because at the end of the day, that's why we are all here. Trying to learn a NEW industry, that is changing almost weekly.
 

FlyaDrone

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Excellent information and from someone with experience too. You are blessed to habe customers who operate vineyards as this is premium customers for drone based operations from a value of the crop and size of the parcel too. You are also blessed again to take advantage of golf courses as that again is not typical agriculture use and again a highly profitable "crop" so to speak. And for again let's us compliment you for being smart enough to select quarry operations as a market focus, but what crop do they grow? Money is their cash crop with intense grass management included too.

So you are maximizing your market opportunities and that is very smart application of your time and money, so I comment you. Now let us just imagine if you were to apply your business acumen to areas that are not afflicted with numerous wealthy oriented vineyards and golf courses. Suppose you start a franchise operation and bring all of your collected experience to the rice fields of Central California, Eastern AR, or Southern LA. Or what about the eheat farms of the Great Plains or how about the corn fields throughout the USA? I am pretty sure that you would experience a different reality. Two of your customer base are not even agricultural in nature so try thinking about what your customer base does not have in common with cash crops that most true farmers operate. The customer base represented by the true corn farmers that I am familiar with would consider a 380 acre golf course size pasture a small pasture as compared to the 2-3,000 acres of corn they have responsibility for. Yes there are some small family farms still operating but for the most part the larger the size operation the better. Again the rice farmers I know should consider 1,000 acres a small operation. And this goes for wheat farmers too.

So again I must realize that you are indeed blessed to be able to take advantage of intelligent customers who offer you the cream of the crop so to speak regarding your ability to provide aerial data acquisition and somewhat light post processing services. I would venture to claim that you do not provide 3D point cloud deliverables to your golf course customers in 1 day. Also the Senterra quick tile does provide actionable data worldwide. And the ability to stitch together orthomosaic deliverables for later presentation.

Your customer base is so non typical of common case crop agriculture ad to be apples and oranges from what most farmers do for a living. So reconsider your situation as it is great for what you deliver. I would also doubt that you can provide same day volumetric analysis to your quarry customer if post processing of cut and fill calculations are processed in the cloud.

By the way you are absolutely correct in all of your assertations as the evidence is your successful operation. I compliment you in your business acumen and the ability to focus your business effort towards customers that can best use your efforts and the data that you sell them. However for the most part my assertions when taken in the context made are pretty much spot on. If you need further proof of the fact that drones are flight time limited in respect to the agriculture market then just look at how many agriculture application specific aerial data acquisition service companies all offer and promote a fixed wing product.

I apologize if you took some sort of offense and consider yourself as servicing agriculture customers with your drones, but that is a stretch of reality when 1 of the 3 of your examples actually produce a crop. Best of luck and continued success in your business as you are the exception to the rule on this forum, an actual member who can make a living flying a drone.
 

Mike Nevins

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FLyaDrone. Sad. I did not say that I only service Vineyards and Golf Courses. In may area, there are many row croppers (Corn, Wheat, Onion, Sugar Beats, tomatoes etc), not to mention Fruit. Lots of it. Ever heard of Palisade Peach? Nuff said. Have a good day.
 

FlyaDrone

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Yes sir I have heard of Palisades Peach and have travelled extensively during many hunting trips throughout Central and SW Co on hunting trips. But you never claimed that row crops are paying your bills, so one is left to assume that your examples given were indicative of your primary revenue stream.

Have you ever heard of apples and oranges comparison? Or cherry picking data when engaged in a frank discussion. The sadness you express is lost in translation unless you just forgot to state that the majority of your agricultural revenue comes from servicing 1,000 acre farms. If that is the case then perhaps you will enlighten us all as to how you can make a living providing data acquisition and post processing services with anything coming from DJI.

You must have figured something out that no one else has. In that case you truly have designed a "better mouse trap". Instead of taking offense where none is intended, reevaluate the pertinent data and improve our collective understanding on how we can all benefit from your technique in using drones to cover large acreage farms at 20 to 30 minute intervals. The facts are not indicative of that being a present reality or capability of any DJI product regardless of what application vendor you choose.

Now once again, I offer you an apology if any of my statements were considered offensive to you. You obviously have selected to use great payloads designed by Senterra. If you and your customer base prefer not to take advantage of their quick tile technology that is fine with me. But do not attempt to claim this data set is not useful and of little differentiation among their competitors.

There is so much we can learn from you if you did not perceive that differing opinions are a personal put down.

Respect for you and your advice but no offense intended.
 

Mike Nevins

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Apology accepted Flyadrone, but I need to clarify a couple of things. As a drone service provider, we derive our revenue streams from all of them. Those industries include Agriculture, Real-Estate, Construction, Inspection and Media. They all contribute to paying our bills, including non-drone activity like HDR real-estate traditional photography. Most companies have multiple revenue streams and we work them all. My primary issue was your statements about in order to be successful you will need to "scale up to a fixed wing platform" for agriculture. That simply is not true. Maybe in some cases, but certainly not in all. DroneDeploy has a flight app that has the ability to obtain maps (tiles) while you fly in real-time, I think its called "FieldScanner" (Now livemap) and I think it came out before Sentera came out with theirs. At any rate, I never said they weren't useful, just that they are of lower resolution.

I'm sure there will be more reasoned discussions, some will be more entertaining than others.
 

ArrUnTuS

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The choice of a fixed wing versus a multirotor is the extension you want to work with. For 1000 acres, which are 400 hectares a fixed wing without a doubt. But of course, if it's just a rook of that extension and the rest of the works are smaller extensions, it doesn't even compensate a fixed wing. Otherwise, of course, in my opinion, works of more than 200 hectares a fixed wing is the key. Decreases the flying time a lot and time is money.
 

ArrUnTuS

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Depends, I think just the opposite. You have examples where they are cheaper than multirotors.

Depends, I think just the opposite. You have examples where they are cheaper than multirotors.

For example, you have the Parrot option. Surprisingly cheap and with the sensor included.

Parrot Disco-Pro AG

Many people opt for fixed wings to which they then adapt the sensor. I like the idea of VTOLS better, although in this case there are practically no commercial options, for now. You have the best of both worlds, long duration and speed and versatility when taking off and landing.
 

Mike Nevins

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I am familiar with Parrot, but most of the ones I know of are like the eBee, very expensive. The other thing that concerns me is the BLOS issue. I don't know about you, but with my eyes, about 1200 yards is max for me. If you are flying 500 acres, thats over 1870 yards long. How do you comply with FAA rules if this is the case? The issue then becomes not how far you can fly, but how far you can see. I'm I missing something?
 

ArrUnTuS

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I am familiar with Parrot, but most of the ones I know of are like the eBee, very expensive. The other thing that concerns me is the BLOS issue. I don't know about you, but with my eyes, about 1200 yards is max for me. If you are flying 500 acres, thats over 1870 yards long. How do you comply with FAA rules if this is the case? The issue then becomes not how far you can fly, but how far you can see. I'm I missing something?
Good question, I think at 200m (or 300 yards) you don't really see the drone anymore. As soon as you check the telemetry, you can't find it visually again. At 120m height and 300m distance is a very small point and that without taking into account the sun that often does not let you see at smaller distances. They are supposed to be VLOS flights but in practice I trusted in telemetry more. I do a preliminary study of the obstacles and depending on the height of the highest, I know the minimum height at which I fly safely.

In any case, the regulations allow me to fly at a maximum distance of 500m, 1000 if we are 2 and one of us is an observer. Still, using a fixed wing remains an important advantage. You don't have to change the Home so many times that in the end it's where you waste the most time. 80 hectares in 20 minutes is a reasonable time.

In case of large extensions one of the most important steps is to make a good study of the terrain prior to flights. It saves you a lot of time. You determine the area you can cover, you calculate the overlaps of the different areas, where the Homes are depending on the irregularities of the terrain, etc. The time you don't spend in the office to do these calculations is multiplied by 10 doing in the field.
 
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The new app is live on the app store and free! Looks like a lively back and forth up there and might I just add that this market is so wide open I think its hard for any of use to see the whole thing. This industry is growing fast and depending on where you are it may look much different.

I want to speak to the fixed wing price. We sell a fixed wing precisely because we felt the market had not driven down prices like it had for quads. There are a lot of factors that have kept the cost high but these two are what I think make the biggest difference.

1. Quads are selling like hotcakes!
Since consumer drones have exploded, DJI and a few others have been able to roll profits into massive production that is driving the price down FAST. Fixed wings aren't in as high a demand so production costs remain high.

2. Quads shapes are simple.
For a Quad aerodynamics is a cool word for "look at these interesting curves". For a fixed wing it means the drone crashing if designed poorly. The molds for a fixed wing are way WAY more complex and take much more engineering. The moving parts can be expensive and because of the size the electronics are more spread out and need to be individually produced. A quad can have one giant board that contains everything but a fixed has servos, air speed sensors, auto pilot, and GPS often spread around the plane driving the electronic price up.
 

Florida Drone Supply

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@Peter Gagliardi - thanks for being part of this forum. We fly an AGX710 on an M210 for golf course analysis. We have fully custom software that takes in our data, analyses it, builds custom reports and critical analysis of all the key things we track and measure. We are very pleased with it.
 
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