Soaring for Commerce and Research

(engine whirring) It’s near and dear to our
heart at Auburn University, the agriculture research, and
also to the state of Alabama. And one of the most appropriate
uses and immediate uses that I think we’re gonna see in the state is through precision agriculture. It’s a pleasure to be a part
of this emerging technology. We’ve been doing aviation
and aerospace education for almost 80 years, manned
flight school for 75, and so it’s a natural
extension of what we’re doing and it ties very well in with
research efforts on campus and with economic
development in the state. To the flight school
we currently have four that we’ll be using in our
flight training program. Biosystems engineering
have a number of units that they use for different
types of research, and as others get
involved with the research with our FAA approvals,
the fleet will grow, but it’s important to note that our fleet has to be registed with FAA. You may notice that these have little LIN numbers on them
like a manned aircraft, and so what we want to be able to do is train not only our
students, but the faculty, in the proper use of these,
and also the general public so that when students
leave our confines here at Auburn University they are
prepared for the workforce. – Auburn does some really cool things on a whole host of fronts, on the engineering front
as well as the ag side, and a lot of these technologies
have other applications in the defense department as well as the homeland security department. – One of the areas I
have jurisdiction over in Congress is our satellites,
all the defense department satellites are under my
jurisdiction, the committee I chair, so I was familiar with
low-earth orbit satellites and what they could do,
sometimes you gotta wait for the orbit of the Earth to come around. It may be a few days, or
at minimum a few hours, and you can do this when you got time and when the weather is
right and when you need it, and not having to wait on
a few days for a satellite to be available to capture
the imagery you’re wanting. So it’s really neat stuff. – The real advantage of UAS in agriculture is being able to collect
that information quickly, as the Congressman just
indicated, we don’t have to wait several days for satellite to come over or the right airplane to be
tasked to come to our field. We can fly this morning
and collect information, process the image, and the image of the data is really what’s important. We can process that image and realize that a certain part of the field may have a nutrient deficiency
or a water deficiency or a disease that’s developing
that we just can’t see yet visibly, but the camera
is able to detect that. And so by this afternoon we could be back in the field with a fertilizer spreader or we could turn our irrigation system on to take corrective action to fix that. And so being able to
handle the data quickly and make decisions ultimately
will help that producer be more profitable and be better
stewards of our resources.

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