New smartphone drone app to shake up UK farming market

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Drone AG is launching an app to assist farmers by making walking fields a thing of the past.

The app has been designed to scout fields for farmers, in a bid to save time and increase the detail of results with just a small drone and a smartphone.

Once a field has been selected, the ‘Skippy Scout’ app flies the drone and collects high-res imagery at various points throughout its journey.

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The images are then downloaded straight to the user’s phone and can be analysed for growth stage, green area index, weeds and disease.

Drone AG’s Jack Wrangham said: “In terms of taking and analysing photos, it’s like other crop scouting apps you can get, except with Skippy your phone camera can fly around the field by itself.”

He added: “It makes field scouting more efficient through the use of affordable drone systems, which many farmers and agronomists already own. The aim is to save time, while also providing more information which can be easily shared.

“You can use popular drone systems like the DJI Mavic and Phantom series, using an iOS based mobile phone. These drone systems can be purchased for as little as £500, so the cost of entry is relatively low.”

Flying drones professionally needs a licence from the CAA which means those that provide services to others, such as crop consultants will need to do a 2 day course and flight test to obtain their PfCO from the regulator.

However the CAA has recently confirmed that a farmer operating a drone on their own land does not need a commercial license, something that Drone AG thinks is a good thing for the agricultural industry.

Mr Wrangham said: “It’s great to have confirmation on this from the CAA, as it’s been a grey area for so long. Whilst it means farmers don’t need a full license, they should still follow the drone code by keeping the drone within line-of-sight and below 400ft.”

The Skippy Scout app will be free during its launch and testing phases, starting in November.

Tags : AgricultureAPPFarmingSmartphone
Alex Douglas

The author Alex Douglas

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