Commercial, UAS/Drones, UGVs

Unmanned Ground Vehicles

Abstract
After being a farmer for a good portion of his life, my uncle, decided to become a poultry farmer. (Wikipedia, n.d.) The poultry business currently enjoys automation in several areas of the production chain. Even then, the 1970’s, my uncle implemented some mechanical ways for the collecting, sorting, packing and transporting of eggs to the market. In 1975 these automations, (mechanical assistance really), required significant human intervention.
The poultry farmer does more than collect, clean, sort and sell the eggs. (THE EGG COLLECTOR – Inside a Funny Organic Egg Farm, 2011)
If the farmer wants a productive, high yielding operation, he must care for his chickens. The chickens need more than feed and water. They need their beaks and nails trimmed, feathers clipped, exercise and to be given antibiotics. (Caughey, 2014)
I will introduce the concept of using UGVs as part of the poultry farming business. They will assist in the production process and play an integral part in the health of the birds.

Farm’s Health
With specialized sensors the UGV can be placed in the furnished barn and catch the chicken. The UGV could trim their beaks, ensuring not to reach the “quick”, and trim the toe nails. (Caughey, 2014) The UGV can also trim feathers and administer the antibiotics. The UGV needs to have a way of tagging the chicken so as to be able to seek for the untreated or unattended.
Several times per day the farmer walked in to the barn, making sure to make noise for the chicken to hear. The chicken exhibited comical head movements. I never knew why my uncle would walk the barn for no apparent reason? (Fasler, 2017)

Harvest the Eggs
After eggs are collected (usually twice a day when done by hand), they need cleaning, sorting and packing. A UGV could be well adapted to these tasks. Often the chickens lay their eggs in the farm’s floor. UGV could collect these eggs. (Tibot Technologies- pioneer in poultry robotics, 2018)
Chicken Die
Farmed chicken’s production decreases after around one year. But sometimes they just die. The carcass lies on the floor until detected. A UGV could detect these dead birds and remove them, thus keeps the farm healthy.
Sale of the Eggs
After packing the sorted eggs, the farmer needs to sell them. The eggs are packed in large 30 dozen boxes which are very heavy. A UGV is very capable of lifting and carrying these boxes to and from the cooled storage room. Then the UGV will carry these eggs again from the cooler to the transporting vehicle.
Selling the Chickens
After the chicken’s egg production starts to decrease, they are sold for meat. A UGV could collect the chickens and place them in the transporting boxes.
Technologies to Achieve These Tasks:
High Definition cameras, sensors, electronic relays semiconductor, computer chips, programming and even some artificial intelligence (AI)
Amortization
This technology can pay for itself not only by yields in production but also in preventions of illnesses. On the production side one can easily realize the benefits of having UGV attending the farm 24/7, having the collection of eggs performed more often.
Scanning for carcass on every egg picking trip will positively impact the health of the farm. If one dead chicken gets a farm house sick it will be of great loss. The smallest farm house my uncle had held five thousand chickens. A loss of approximately $140,000 if they got sick and died. This figure does not account for the lost revenue from selling the chickens.
The use of a UGV in the poultry industry could equate to big sums of moneys savings. If we include the cost of having employees, then the savings become even more apparent: savings on payroll, payroll taxes, employee ‘s benefits like pensions and worker compensation costs.
This does not include the costs of infrastructure needed to house the employees: parking areas, break/lunch rooms, bathrooms, etc. The maintenance of these facilities also cost money.
Now the farmer can put some if not all of these savings into the upkeep of the UGV and consider some upgrade modifications.
References
( 2018, May 30). Retrieved from Tibot Technologies- pioneer in poultry robotics: http://www.tibot.fr/
Caughey, M. (2014, Mat 11). Retrieved from Community Chickens: https://www.communitychickens.com/how-to-trim-a-chickens-toenails/
Fasler, J. (2017, Sep 19). Retrieved from The New Food Economy: https://newfoodeconomy.org/first-autonomous-poultry-robot/
THE EGG COLLECTOR – Inside a Funny Organic Egg Farm. (2011, Jan 19). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLX6LFW2n3c&feature=youtu.be
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poultry_farming

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Uncategorized

Learn As I Go

I have to start by mentioning how luck I feel about my profession.

As I have mentioned in the past I work for Miami Dade County, Florida. I hold a professional Land Surveyor position in the  Public Works Department – right of way Division.

History

I July of 2014, I commenced the reading of regulations an requirements to allow the department to fly a drone and me be the Pilot in command. At that time the FAA required all PIC to hold an actual Private Pilot certificate. I still hold not only a Private Pilot Licensee I have commercial instrument AGI and CFII certificates.

In April 2016 Miami Dade County received their Certificate of Authorization. In may of this year the survey department had already purchased the UX-5 from Delair.

In June 2016 we took a three days training in the processes to fly said unit.

In August 2016 I received my temporary Remote Pilot Certificate.

Present

Miami Dade got my feet wet in the area of droning. After that, my appetite and thrust for knowledge has caused me to pursue experience.

I started with a series of UAS lectures. I gave lectures in the UAS rules to any and all that invited me to speak. I have been as far as Tampa offering these free lectures. I believe this was instrumental in me getting a part time teaching position in Broward College.

I have flown fixed wings and Rotor drones. I started experimenting with my drones at different elevations of flight to compare the relative accuracies obtained with different cameras and different flight configurations.

I still would like to find a small stock pile site and calculate it’s  volume.

In the office I have used drone to Map, Datumate and UAS Master.

I recently purchased a Nikon with GPS positioning capabilities. My next experimentation will be in the Surveying of Building Facades. I already took some pictures of a concave building. I must have done something wrong the software was not able to stich the images in one continuous block. So Instead of fighting the software I decided to recapture the images.

I cant wait to see what come out of this experiment. I guess ill have to wait for the upcoming long weekend to see if I could start this adventure.

Thanks for your time.

 

Uncategorized

Drone-Metrics Talk

… a place to discuss applications and methodologies for drone mapping.

I am a Miami Dade County Employee. I work  for the Public Works Department in the Right of Way division.

In 2014 I started the application process for the Certificate of Authorization to operate a UAS for Public Works. After a long process I finally received the COA.

A short time after the FAA revisited the current operations criteria and implemented the now 14 CFR Part 107. In August 2017, I received my Remote Pilot Certificate under these regulations.

These technologies and regulations have changed my Land Surveyor Profession.  As I experiment with this technology, I have been fortunate to be exposed to several flight platforms. I fly a fixed wing for work and vertical lifts for fun and experimentation.

I have also been using several processing software to see which offer my employer the most complete deliverables solution. In software, I have used: UASMasters, Datumate Enterprise and Drone 2 Maps.

On weekends my experiments have consisted in flying a quasi-control site, at several Elevations, Vertical and Oblique imaging, with and without Ground Control.

I have been using my  DJI Phantom 3 Professional (12 MP camera) and I am very happy with the relative accuracies encountered in the horizontal dimensions. However, I have not checked for conformal properties. I am looking for solutions to achieve an adequate vertical accuracy.

If the County  allowed me the resources such as time, equipment and a good survey crew; I would set a field with tightly surveyed features and markings at fixed distances and patterns. I would produce an ACAD drawing of the field. Then I would fly the site again in different permutations of Flight Heights, Image Orientation and Camera configurations to see which renders to solution with the least deviations from the Control .

I can’t wait to run similar tests with my new DJI Phantom 4 Advance. This is a 20 MP camera unit and my expectations are the relative accuracies would improve,  same accuracies at a higher flight elevation

Commercial, UAS/Drones

Just Another Remote Pilot

I work for Miami Dade County Miami, Florida for the right of way division. Approximately March 2014, a coworker and I suggested the Survey Department to consider the use of UAS as an additional tool in their survey tool box. At that time, the FAA required the PIC (Pilot-In-Command) be an already certificated Pilot. While not part of the survey department I volunteered to be that Pilot.

This volunteered position has morphed as much as the regulations pertaining the use of drones. Soon after, I was asked to pursue a blanket COA for the Department. After two years of paperwork I achieved this for the Survey Department. COA No. 2016-ESA-99-COA issued to Miami Dade County, Attn to: Josue Tirado.

In August 2016, new Regulations (14 CFR Part107) became in effect. I pursued a Remote Pilot license under this new regulation.

I am not the official “Person of Responsible Charge” at Miami Dade County. However, I am the one: that plans the missions, determine waivers needed, request these waivers, request ground control from the survey department, weather observations the week prior the planned mission, sync with towers for operations if needed, make the go no go flight decision on the day of the mission, fly the mission, download images, and process data.

Up to now I have had some limited success. I have achieved the creation of Orthophotos, Mosaics and Point Clouds. My next step is extraction of quantitative data for engineering designs or to check the integrity of clients mapping work. My biggest goal mission is to perform specific purpose mapping for the Class “BRAVO” at KMIA and map the lease areas for the Port Miami. I know it’s a gigantic goal. I am not even close. But I keep my eyes on the prize.

I spend some of my workdays reading photogrammetry books, self-training on the software application we use (UAS-Master distributed by Trimble). I enjoy what I am doing for the county at a small corner at the 16th floor of the Steven P Clark Building, downtown Miami, FL.

I have not flown at night, beyond line of sight or above 400 AGL. Which I think this will change after the implementations resulting from the Integration efforts.

On a personal level, I have purchased three sUAS and fly under hobbyist rules to increase my flying experience since the sUAS at work is autonomous. I currently have three drones, a Holystone (toy), Phantom 3 Professional and a Phantom 4 Advanced Plus.

In summary, I am just a beginner and have limited experience other than that acquired at work. I am enjoying the challenges these new technologies are offering all of us. I like to be hands on as much as possible. While technology is advancing more than I could handle sometimes, I hope my ambition and drive culminates in flying my goal missions. What I lack in know-how, I make up in tenacity and focused dedication.

Tweeter handle: @suaspic

Facebook: Josue Tirado Muniz

LinkedIn: Josué Tirado Muniz

UAS/Drones

Holystone HS200 sUAS Review

Holystone HS200 sUAS (drone) Review

Arrival – the unit could have been mishandled. I received one really bent propeller. Luckily I ordered the extra batteries and repair kit, knowing I was an inexperienced pilot. Foreseeing wreck, I did not disappoint me.

User Manual: I found it lacking.

More of a toy feel. Very light and thin. But strong. See below

Price point is very good. I wanted to make sure I could fly before I invested on a more expensive unit.

Battery life is advertised at 10 minutes flight time. I got almost 75% out of my third cycled batteries. I flew 7:16 min indoors. Also kept the drone at 6 feet or less  above ground level “AGL”. I am 6 foot tall and drone was always below my leveled line of sight. Less battery power to climb.

How long will it fly outside? At 50 feet above mechanical wind effects. I expect a significant decrease in flight time due to obviously different environments.

Pairing: 16-20 seconds. I felt this was a very expedient pairing process.

Flying with iPhone – applications offers the ability for FPV (First Person View). Whether used with the controller or stand alone. No sensory feedback however. Found that it was too easy for me to be off the controlling areas and had to glance at the screen to place fingers back to their correct location. (This could be due to my lack of experience.)

Controller: I did not have this issue with the provided controller. Easy. You could feel the joysticks continuously. No presentable latency at 10-15 feet from either controllers. Don’t know the effect larger distances from the controllers will have on responsiveness.

Resilient very durable. Learning to fly inside presents multiple obstacles. I hit many. Drone still going. The aforementioned bent prop must have been be placing heavy object over the unit while on transport. I have hit most if not all the obstacles I have in my living room and the HS200 is in one peace. While so thin and fragile feel it takes a licking and keep on ticking.

Altitude hold: a big plus for a novice pilot and for the flight time. I never hot the ceiling as I had in the past with micro helicopters.

Camera: I am happy with the footage and stills I am shooting. Keep in mind it is just a 2MP camera. But I think the camera’s purpose is FPV and it is good enough for that purpose.

One press take-off: very helpful for control and energy management.

Headless Mode: I have not tried the headless mode. I want to gain experience before I discover what I expect to be a great plus feature to pilots.

sUAS Registration: The HS200 published weight is 108 grams. At 453.6 grams per pound the HS200 weight is 0.24 lbs. well below the lowest weight required by the FAA for registration. I am flying inside so far. No need to register since I am not in the National Airspace System “NAS”.

Make sure to visit www.faa.gov/uas for updated information and requirement on fly in the NAS.

Over all comments: I am very pleased with the HS200 sUAS. Becoming a kid in my Livingroom has been fun. Despite its small and light weight it is a resilient unit. I have had some time of fun and relaxation. It’s fun to see my piloting and directional input errors causing my CFIT. Controlled Flight into Terrain.

I am currently awaiting on a call to teach a continuing education class on 14 CFR Part 107 rules. I am required to provide the drones for the class. I know I could order several of these units, with the confidence that my potential student, regardless of their experience level, could wreck my HS200 and it will keep going for the next student to try.

Commercial, UAS/Drones, Uncategorized

Passions Combined

Me and my Passions.

I am a person that enjoys learning and being exposed to new experiences.

One of my passions is flying. I really enjoy being up there and watching the world from such a different perspective. I even enjoy just hanging with other pilots (hangar rats). One other passion is technologies. Sonia often says, “You sure like your gadgets”.

These two passions are now combined in one. The commonly called “drones”. The FAA has termed small Unmanned Aircraft Systems “sUAS”.

 

What’s in the  sUAS name?

The unmanned aircraft portion is self-explanatory. There is no pilot within the aircraft.

The system portion is due to the fact that is not just the aircraft alone. That would just be unmanned aircraft, UA, Military application referred as UV unmanned vehicle. Instead it’s an integration of hardware, and software’s working in unison as a unit.

The small is based on weight restrictions imposed by the FAA, the agency in charge of our “NAS” National Airspace System. The weight between 0.55 lbs. – 55 lbs. are considered as small UAS.

 

Aircraft Registration

Any UA in this weight range is required to be registered through the FAA. Until further news from said agency which was recently sued and lost the “authority” if you will, to demand such registration. ( I just read http://www.faa.gov/uas and all drones 0.55 – 55 lb. are required to be registered)

 

Drones (sUAS)

I am currently shopping for an inexpensive drone that captures video and still pictures. In my list I have Syma, Holy Stone, Aukey, Hubsan and SKEYE any others along that price range ($300). I know DJI has a big selection. If I get chosen to be the Continuing Education Instructor at Broward College and my accountant advises me so, I will consider the Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 Beginners Package.

I fear getting something in that price range and either wreck it or not utilize it that much. Not to mention that I work in Miami among the most complex airspaces in America. We have 13 heliports, 7 airports including a Class B, a Military Airport and a Seaport. Find class G to fly! Good thing I do not live here!

I want to fly a quad. We have an autonomous land survey grade sUAS at the office(Miami Dade County Public Works).  I basically plan missions, send it off and tell it to come back. I also have option to get out of potential traffic. That is the extent of my flying sUAS experience. With this price range of quads, I will be piloting, therefore really combining two of my passions in one activity.

“If you know of a drone in the shape of a guitar, then I could include yet another passion”.

Commercial, Instrument, Private

MACHO, MACHO-MAN, I don’t want to by a MACHO MAN!

As I pilot you are aware of the five deadly attitudes: Resignation, Anti-Authority, Impulsivity, Invulnerability and Macho.

I have been flying since 2000. And don’t recall ever fighting these attitudes until recently.

I belong to several flying clubs. I say this to reinforce the fact that, flying has become my greatest adventure.   I am a type ‘A’ personality. Which latter I am finding out a very high percent of pilots fall under this personality group (interesting is in it?).

I have a girlfriend that loves going flying with me. While this is of great joy, since statistically, almost half of pilots’s partner do not like to fly. Having this partner in crime also adds an extra layer of pressure and responsibility to me. Bringing her home safe.

One of the flying clubs I mentioned, Florida Aero Club, have a Chapter monthly dinner meeting and a Chapter monthly fly in. We also have a State Wide, (all chapters in the State) biannual fly in weekend. I have only missed one since becoming a member. I have made great connections with pilots there partner from all the State Chapters. Being a flying club you want to fly to these activities.

This last State fly in was threatened with bad weather almost throughout the entire state both going and returning. On the way back from a great weekend, after having done all my weather studies, I arrive at the FBO to see all other Chapter members there. Ceilings were reported at 800-1000 feet and they were not IFR rated or IFR Current. In my mind I could have made the trip back. Looked at all obstacle in my modified IFR plan which was fly East miss the cell and then cancel and stay on flight watch under VFR rules.

While thinking in all the options including that my girlfriend and I both having to be back to work the next day, she is a very dedicated Head Start teacher, there are friends there which as an instructor I did not want to give them a bad example. Something in my mind click. All of the sudden, I did not want to fly.

While I enjoy flying so much, I go through a mental process and get mentally ready for the task. I could have been that MACHO guy impressing the pilots at the FBO and my girlfriend. I could have made it home safe. Am I sure of that?

After over seven hours driving home I observer the weather I would have flown in and was happy to see I made the right decision. This decision was latter challenged by the great weather at the destination airport.

While this go / no-go decision was  not that easy to make I am glad I made it. My girlfriend was very grateful in my brining her home safe, I made a new couple of friends, they road with us, and I modeled to other pilots the antidote to one of the attitude that could have made us part of the Nall Report Statistics. Other pilots also rented car and followed my lead.

Not a bad day from a CFI’s point of view.

I hope this short article helps other pilots facing similar situations in this storm season. Be safe fly another day.