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American Robotics unveils fully autonomous drone system for ag

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American Robotics, an industrial drone developer specializing in agricultural automation, unveiled its flagship product Scout. It is a self-charging, self-managing drone system capable of autonomously carrying out daily scouting missions.

This new technology is intended to improve upon traditional scouting techniques, including first-generation and consumer drones, with the hopes of being able to detect plant stress earlier — potentially offsetting billions of dollars of lost yields.

“The potential for Scout to advance precision agriculture is immense,” said Ray Asebedo, Professor of Precision Agriculture at Kansas State University. “One of the most frequent questions I receive is, ‘When am I going to be able to buy a drone that can just fly my whole farm without me being there?’ Because so much time and cost is needed just to operate a drone, growers and agronomists are unlikely to utilize it more than once a month, if at all. This prevents them from getting imagery data at a frequency and resolution necessary for effective crop scouting.”

The Scout package consists of an autonomous drone with visual and multispectral cameras and a weatherproof drone station that handles housing, charging, data processing, and data transfer. Once installed within a farmer’s field, Scout requires no manual intervention to plan, fly, and manage the drone operations. Plant-health reports and analysis are seamlessly sent to the farmer. The system has already been deployed in a range of agricultural locations across the United States over the summer. 

“I believe fully-automated drone operation is a revolutionary approach that solves many of the real-world problems facing growers today, and I am confident Scout will scale to meet the needs of growers around the world,”  said Gary V. McMurray, Associate Director of Collaborative Robotics at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.

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