Cheseaux, Switzerland, August 31 — Swiss professional drone manufacturer, senseFly, expanded its portfolio today with the launch of the new eBee SQ fixed-wing agricultural drone. This cutting-edge unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is built for the Parrot Sequoia multispectral camera and can cover up to 10 times more ground than small quadcopter drones.
The eBee SQ will make its first public appearance tomorrow, September 1, at The Commercial UAV Show Asia in Singapore (senseFly booth: BO7).
The eBee SQ is an advanced agricultural system that takes professionals such as crop consultants, growers and researchers from drone to action, simply and efficiently. It builds on the success of senseFly’s popular eBee platform, which has recorded over 300,000 successful customer flights to date over seven continents.
The arrival of the eBee SQ provides Parrot’s Sequoia camera—the smallest, most advanced multispectral sensor on the market—with its very own drone. The eBee SQ combines the benefits of precise crop imaging with large ground coverage, and is fully compatible with existing agricultural workflows.
“The eBee SQ allows agricultural professionals to collect highly precise data on the health of their crops, efficiently and cost-effectively,” said senseFly’s CEO, Jean-Christophe Zufferey. “It represents a platform-proven upgrade for those who may have been trialling drone technology—for example by flying quadcopters over their crops—including those who already own a Parrot Sequoia. By upgrading to the eBee SQ, these operators gain a professional-grade, easy-to-use system that can cover many more acres in a single flight.”
Precise crop data
The eBee SQ fully integrates Parrot’s ground-breaking Sequoia camera. This multispectral sensor captures data across four highly distinct spectral bands (near-infrared, red-edge, red and green) plus visible RGB imagery—in just one flight.
Once the drone’s images have been processed, using a solution such as Pix4Dmapper Ag/Pro (Desktop & Cloud) software or cloud-only solutions such as MicaSense ATLAS and AIRINOV’s, the Sequoia’s broad spectral data enables numerous vegetation indices to be computed including NDVI, NDRE, MCARI and CCCI. The resulting index maps can then be employed to assess factors such as a plant’s chlorophyll levels, a key indicator of crop health.
With Pix4Dmapper Ag/Pro, these index maps can be further adapted to create exportable prescriptions (i.e. application maps), allowing professionals to carefully optimise their crop treatments to improve production quality, boost yields and reduce costs.
Larger coverage for greater efficiency
The eBee SQ can fly for up to 55 minutes on a single battery charge. This performance enables it to cover up to 500 acres (200 ha) in a single flight at 400 ft (120 m) above ground level*—up to 10 times more ground than small quadcopter drones—for extremely efficient crop monitoring and analysis.
The result is fewer flights per project, for less time spent collecting data and more time acting on it.
The eBee SQ’s supplied planning and control software, called eMotion Ag, is compatible with Farm Management Information Systems (FMIS) and ag machinery. There is no need for ag professionals to reinvent how they work.
eMotion Ag was developed with expert input from leading agriculture service provider AIRINOV, whose team of agronomists has worked with more than 5,000 farmers across France and beyond. Compatible with Windows OS-based PCs and tablets, eMotion Ag is easy to use and designed to help ag professionals make every mission count. Its features include: direct importation of crop boundaries from the user’s FMIS, in shapefile format, for highly accurate and efficient mission planning; image overlap pre-sets to aid quick deployment; and multi-field uploads, enabling several fields to be included in a single flight plan.
Software included: in addition to eMotion Ag, from launch to the end of 2016 every eBee SQ will be supplied with a complimentary three-month licence of MicaSense ATLAS, a complimentary one-month licence of Pix4Dmapper Ag (Desktop & Cloud), and USD $200 of free AIRINOV maps.
Availability: the eBee SQ is available for purchase immediately via senseFly’s global network of distributors (see www.sensefly.com/wheretobuy). It is available with the Parrot Sequoia in a cost-effective bundle, or without Parrot Sequoia (for existing owners of this camera).
Watch the eBee SQ video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtjqFtOvtIs
Explore Parrot Sequoia’s specifications: https://www.sensefly.com/fileadmin/user_upload/sensefly/documents/brochures/Sequoia_Specifications_2016_sensefly.pdf
* Coverage based on the following test conditions: 60% image overlap, 6 m/sec wind, 55 min. flight time, Sequoia multispectral & RGB set to high resolution, new fully charged battery, flight altitude of 122 m (400 ft). Resulting ground sampling distances: multispectral 12 cm/px (4.7 in/px), RGB 3.1 cm/px (1.2 in/px).