In recent years, the popularity of UAVs as an efficient means of data collection has skyrocketed. UAVs aim to help organizations save money in two ways: 1) they can collect real-time data from hard-to-reach locations, and 2) they can cover large areas in a short amount of time. The list of potential applications for UAVs is expanding, but one particular market has been receiving a lot of attention: agriculture. Is it possible for UAVs to pave the road towards autonomous farming?
Like many countries around the world, agriculture is a critical industry for Japan. Although the increasingly popular drone market in Japan is not news, we are beginning to witness the payoff of years of investment, testing and development with end-to-end agricultural solutions. It seems as though developers and organisations have begun to finally grasp how to use UAVs as a complement to existing technologies, and agriculture is reaping the rewards.
Drones have been used in Japanese farming for some time, however, what has been missing was a vision. this is changing, with the push for autonomous farming leading the agricultural innovation. The growing availability of new technologies and products are helping to make this vision a reality.
Today, the role of UAVs is predominantly to monitor farmland and help improve precision agriculture. With further refinement of experimental technologies such as automated UAV pest and weed control, this could help minimise the burden and cost of manual labor from farming.
Highlighting Geospatial Solutions for Agriculture in Japan
Hexagon Geospatial and PASCO Corporation recently co-hosted their annual ERDAS IMAGINE and ERDAS APOLLO User Forum in Japan. Although the event focused on traditional remote sensing and photogrammetry, it also presented an opportunity to highlight new geospatial trends including UAV, 3D Construction Design (BIM and CIM) and Dynamic Mapping. An interesting discussion which absorbed the audience looked into the increasing use of small satellites in conjunction with UAVs to perform more accurate remote sensing, as well as incorporating UAVs in photogrammetry to create Point Clouds.
With Japan’s vision of autonomous farming, there is an enormous opportunity for cloud technologies and application platforms such as Hexagon Smart M.Apps and M.App Enterprise. Having already developed a number of agriculture-specific Smart M.Apps, Hexagon Geospatial is excited to be involved in developing solutions for better farming in Japan, as well as across the globe.