The Ohio/Indiana Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center (UASC) and The Ohio State University have initiated regular flight operations at Molly Caren Agricultural Center.  The flights will enable aeronautical research of various types of UAS sensors. 

The UASC and Ohio State are partnering to explore new sensing technologies and techniques to improve agricultural productivity and enhance environmental management practices through improved nutrient use efficiency.  Agriculture is an important industry in Ohio.  3D Aerial, a UAS business located in Dayton, Ohio, is piloting the small 1.5-pound fixed wing aircraft for this project. The data gathered is part of a research and development effort focused on non-invasive assessment of crop health. 

“This data will be analyzed and results will be used in support of research on cropping systems and assessment of environmental factors affecting crop growth,” says Scott Shearer, professor and chair of food, agricultural and biological engineering at Ohio State. “In addition to precision agriculture experiments, this research will help enhance water quality by better understanding how best management practices may impact surface and ground water quality.”

Flights will be conducted over the growing season to ensure data is captured throughout growth stages of the crops. Ohio State will evaluate various remote sensing platforms and image sensors, and will develop the analytics necessary to make the remote sensing data useful to farmers and their supply chain.