Christopher Dean and Ernst Earon in 2010 founded “WineHawk” in Toronto, Canada. The company manufactured autonomous, hand launched, fixed wing UAVs to scare the birds flying over vineyards. They further added cameras which helped in providing farmers with aerial view of field. PrecisionHawk (H.Q) is now in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a drone and data company working in the field of agriculture, insurance, energy, construction and for government. They are manufacturer of Drones (Lancaster), Drone safety systems (LATAS) and have been focusing more on developing software for data analysis of farms, pipeline monitoring, wind turbine inspection, power line sag analysis, tower inspection and others.
Advent of New Technology
In 2012, PrecisionHawk became one of the first commercial drone company to focus on agricultural aerial data acquisition and analysis. To begin with, Lancaster was the first drone launched in 2012 followed by Data mapping solutions in 2014 and LATAS in 2015.
LATAS is Low Altitude Tracking and avoidance system used for solving air traffic problems arising between manned and unmanned aircrafts. It becomes difficult for drone operators to know about the restricted airspace or potential danger in the flying environment. LATAS notifies the operators about such problems and take control of flight in case of unsafe situations. PrecisionHawk is first US Company to receive U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s exemption for flying drones beyond the operator’s visibility. They are also member of FAA, Pathfinder Initiative and NASA UTM program. Furthermore, in 2015 they acquired TerraServer- a company specializing in aerial and satellite imagery.
LATAS is a path breaking system and its functionality is easy to understand and implement. The following video shows the working of this system.
PrecisionHawk’s constant endeavor to improvise aerial technology has led to development of a library of professional and on-demand analytics tool to obtain vital understandings related to farming. The figure below depicts some of the tools available in the algorithm marketplace.
DJI and PrecisionHawk
In 2016, DJI and PrecisionHawk partnered to offer a complete agricultural solution. DJI’s commercial drones and PrecisionHawk’s software platform were amalgamated to set a new benchmark in aerial imaginary in the field of agriculture. A user can easily create a full plan and collect the geological data which can be viewed in the DataMapper app and is can be further analyzed. Their complete architecture supports use of sensors such as LIDAR, 2D and 3D band sensors, Thermal and hyperspectral sensors
From July 2015 till January 2017, Bob Young, cofounder of Red Hat Inc. served as the CEO of the company. Later, Michael Chasen, a cofounder and CEO of education company Blackboard Inc. took over as CEO. With the amount of development in multiple areas prove strong hold of the company’s software and analysis tools. In future, these innovative dimensions in unmanned aerial vehicles are bound to increase technically as well as enhance the reachability and usability of these products to layman.