sentera drone dji phantom mavic

This sensor turns a basic DJI drone into a precision agriculture platform

Sentera has been turning DJI drones into precision scouting tools that collect NDVI crop health data. And this month, the company announced its precision agriculture technology is compatible with the popular new DJI Mavic drone.

NDVI, the normalized difference vegetation index, is an important graphical indicator for farmers to analyze remote sensing measurements and assess whether the land contains live green vegetation or not. NDVI images may be able to prescribe fertilizer applications, estimate yields and identify weeds.

Sentera created a NDVI Single Sensor that integrates with DJI drones, including the Mavic, where it captures visual-band RGB, near-infrared (NIR) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data and then interprets it in the field to detect problem areas and respond with action. 

As the drone flies over a field, the sensor creates NDVI maps. That data then flows into the Sentera AgVault software, where additional analytics can be performed and the data is stored.

Users can purchase a drone directly through Sentera, which installs the NDVI Single Sensor onto the airframe while leaving the 3-axis gimbal untouched so it can be used for other purposes. Existing DJI drone owners can send the drone to Sentera or a Sentera-authorized reseller for modification.

The DJI Mavic with Sentera upgrade costs $3,649, while the Phantom 4 Professional with Sentera upgrade costs $4,148 and the Inspire 1 is $4,748.

For people who already own the drone, the upgraded sensor on its own costs between $1,999 and $2,749.

Kris Poulson, Vice President of Agriculture for Sentera, said customers in the southern states are already deployed drones with Sentera’s NDVI sensor.

Goldman Sachs predicts commercial drone sales totaling $20.6bn worldwide. Though they predict construction will be the largest end market for drones worldwide, they expect agriculture to be the largest end market in the U.S., with an anticipated $1.4 billion domestic opportunity, according to a March 2016 report.


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