It’s been a fun first week! My favorite thing was going out into the field and getting to see how drone technology is used in precision agriculture. The pieces are starting to come together from what I learned at drone camp at the start of April. Drones can be run on a program out in the field which eliminates human error and is more safe and exact. You can also override a running program to manually lower the height or land if needed. I observed a drone flying over two different fields of crops taking photos at predetermined intervals. When the program is complete, the drone automatically lands and turns off. The batteries don’t last more than 20 minutes and some programs take longer than that to run. When the drone senses a low battery, it automatically returns to the launch spot. After a fresh battery is inserted, the drone will resume the pattern where it left off. During the drone camp, I didn’t understand the role of learning programming if you use commercial software to fly the drone. Now I understand that you need both programmed runs and manual operation in this type of application.
– by Diane Terhune, a STEM Educator in the Treasure Valley, Idaho