Unmanned Aircraft in Agriculture: Sensor Integration / Commercial Production & Field Research

Dr. Joe Mari Maja of Clemson University will report on Sensor Integration for UAS Flight Controllers. Sensors such as cameras have specific triggering requirements so Dr. Maja will present examples of triggering techniques that he uses. Although the techniques are specific to the Mikrokopter platform, the general concept discussed may be used for other Flight Controllers on the market.

Dr.  Maja is a research sensor engineer at Clemson University’s Edisto Research and Education Center. His main work has centered on developing sensor automation technologies for South Carolina farmers and Clemson’s research scientists. He is currently in charge of the Sensor Laboratory at the Center where all the technologies he develops are fabricated. The Sensor Laboratory is a very unique laboratory in the Center where design and fabrication of electronic modules and its enclosure can be manufactured.

Prior to his work at Clemson, he worked as a Research Engineer at the Eagle Flight Research Center of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona, FL. His work with the Eagle Flight Research Center was in the area of development of automation for manned aircraft.

Dr. Maja has developed several different technologies and you can find examples at

Watch UAS Flight Controllers and Sensors on the LearnUASAg YouTube Channel

Dr. Kurt Nolte
- The University of Arizona - Using UAS for more effective aerial pollination
The School of Plant Sciences, Yuma County Extension Director, Yuma Agricultural Center Director, Regional Vegetable Production Specialist

Dr. Nolte contributes to a team of faculty and staff to best serve the desert production areas of southwestern US by promoting a conduit of information flux to benefit growers with the long term goal of improving farm profitability while minimizing adverse effects to the environment. Kurt integrates the use of UAV technologies, imaging systems and post-flight processing into desert fruit and vegetable cropping systems to provide either research or commercial utility. Dr. Nolte also assists with the coordination of field demonstrations and application based research projects areas involving irrigation management, pest control, food safety, reduced tillage and field labor.

Presentation Description:
The use of micro-UAVs (Unmanned-Aerial-Vehicles) for field research and commercial production has recently gained considerable attention as an alternative image capture and data acquisition platform. This brief presentation will include a brief overview of using UAVs in 3D field modeling, plant stand assessment, plant growth dynamics, NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) ratio calculations, irrigation monitoring and aerial pollination.

Watch Innovative Uses of UAV: Pollinating Dates on the LearnUASAg YouTube Channel

Photograph by Dr. James Robbins, University of Arkansas, provided to eXtension to use this photo. For permission to use, contact Dr. James Robbins at

Created by Susan Buffler


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