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UAS Interest Group Inaugural Meeting

Posted 15 April 2014

The National Centre for Precision Farming (NCPF) UAS Interest Group held its inaugural meeting at Harper Adams University last month.

The Interest Group is co-chaired by URSULA Agriculture and Harper Adams University, drawing members from both academia and industry. The formation of this group was announced at the ‘Unmanned Aerial Systems in Precision Agriculture’ event held at the university in January.

It sets out to promote smart farming by encouraging the use of UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) in agriculture and aims to foster wider discussion of key issues and the future of the industry. 

The first meeting reviewed the group’s terms of reference, code of practice and its future aims and objectives. The group seeks to establish itself as a platform for promoting agricultural UAS products and services, innovation, knowledge exchange, and collaboration. It also aims to provide a forum to address issues concerning the adoption and development of UASs, networking and the promotion of partnerships for commercialisation and research.

A range of topical issues were considered to identify areas for future discussion, including:
• Development of the UAS industry and associated services
• Technical promotion and innovation in UAS and associated applications
• Privacy and the use of unmanned aerial systems
• Public perception and concerns
• Data ownership and protection
• Integration of UAS data for use in ‘Big Data’ systems

Key agricultural issues discussed included water stress on crops, crop health, precision spraying, soil properties and the use of UAS as a support/scouting tool by agronomists.

The Interest Group’s main focus is agricultural UAS applications with a long-term objective to promote UK leadership and innovation and to increase exports.  The next meeting will be held at Harper Adams University on June 6 with a full agenda published prior to the event.

Those interested in joining the group should contact Lee Williams, business manager at Harper Adams University - lrwilliams@harper-adams.ac.uk

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