UGVs, Uncategorized

Unmanned Ground Vehicles: Chicken Farming.

By Josue Tirado, PSM, AGI, CFII, Remote Pilot

I write this article in honor of my uncle. He is my father figure and he was way advanced in the chicken/egg farming industry for his time. After a short meeting with him, I found out why he closed the business.
I only wish I knew the little I now know, and perhaps we would prevent my uncles business to close. My uncle is still with us and I wanted to write this in his honor. For all, he thought me and all the hard work he modeled for me. Love you “Tio Israel”.

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 automation, (mechanical assistance really), required significant human intervention.

     The poultry farmer does more than collect, clean, sort and sells 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 toenails (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 into 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).


     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 sick the entire farmhouse can get sick, that it will be of great loss. The smallest farmhouse 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 money 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/lunchrooms, 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.

( 2018, May 30). Retrieved from Tibot Technologies- pioneer in poultry robotics:
Caughey, M. (2014, Mat 11). Retrieved from Community Chickens:
Fasler, J. (2017, Sep 19). Retrieved from The New Food Economy:
THE EGG COLLECTOR – Inside a Funny Organic Egg Farm. (2011, Jan 19). Retrieved from
Wikipedia. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Maneuverabilities Modalities

UXV’s could be categorized based on the space dimension of the theater in which they operate. Some UXV’s operate on a “true” 3D theater while others operate on a 2D theater. UUV and UAVs operate on a “true“ 3D space. That is to say, the vehicle controls its third-dimension operations. The UGV and USV are responsible for the maneuverability in the X/Y or Northing/Easting or Latitude/Longitude planes. The third dimension is the travel surface either earth or water, respectively.
EODs are UGVs. These UGV’s maneuver by several directional modalities.

Maneuverability Modalities
Maneuver to make a series of changes in direction and position for a specific purpose (Meridian-Webster, Incorporated, 2019)

Ackerman steering – The Ackerman concept is to have all four wheels rolling around a common point during a turn (Auto-Ware, 2009).

Figure 1. Flexible Platform Robot courtesy of Shephard Media Press Limited (The Shephard Media Press Limited, 2019).
Differential steering– wheels can have different rates of rotations with both wheels powered ( The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.,, 2019). They can also have a different direction of rotation.

Figure 2. EMAV courtesy of the Shephard Media Press Limited (The Shephard Media Press Limited, 2019).

IMPASS – Intelligent Mobile Platform Actuated Spoke System -variable radius wheel (Wheel-leg hybrid). Driven by a rimless spoke wheel (Jeans & Hong, 2009).

Figure 3. IMPASS courtesy of youtube (Ultimate off-road locomotion, 2013).

Manipulate: to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner (Meridian-Webster, Incorporated, 2019).
EODs or similar concept vehicles are used for non-military application. Therefore the need for multiple manipulation extremities. The choice of extremities is interdependent to the manipulated object and the intended outcome.
These UGVs have not reached the degree of autonomy enjoyed in other platforms. (Czop, Signore, J., & Hacker, 2008).

Manipulation behaviors are: (Czop, Signore, J., & Hacker, 2008)
Point and click movements,
user-defined distance movement,
user-defined angle positioning,
memory locations to save and recall manipulator positions, and
macros to memorize and repeat multi-position repetitive manipulator movements.

Recoiless guns
Claw or grips on a telescopic boom
Tow bars and or hooks

The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.,. (2019). Differential wheeled robot. Retrieved from
Auto-Ware. (2009). Ackerman Steering and Racing Circle (oval) Tracks. Retrieved from
Bartnicki, A., Krogul, P., & Spadlo, K. (2016). Influence of an EOD engineer robot manipulator structure on the effector’s accuracy using intuitive control system. 21st International Conference on Methods and Models in Automation and Robotics (MMAR) , (pp. 1148-1153). doi:10.1109/MMAR.2016.7575300
Czop, A., Signore, D., J., M., & Hacker, K. (2008). Low-cost semi-autonomous manipulation technique for explosive ordnance disposal robots., SPIE 6962, Unmanned Systems Technology X. doi:10.1117/12.782082
Jeans, J. B., & Hong, D. D. (2009). IMPASS: Intelligent Mobility Platform with Active Spoke System. International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 1605-1606. Retrieved from
Meridian-Webster, Incorporated. (2019). Maneuver. Retrieved from
Meridian-Webster, Incorporated. (2019). Manipulate. Retrieved from
The Shephard Media Press Limited. (2019). EMAV . Retrieved from
The Shephard Media Press Limited. (2019). Flexible Robotic Platform. Retrieved from
Ultimate off-road locomotion. (2013). Virginia Tech IMPASS robot in action. Retrieved from


ADS-B for sUAS

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is charged with the safety and efficiency of the National Airspace System (NAS) operations. (Safety: The Foundation of Everything We Do, 2017). This exploratory study will investigate the benefits, if any, on the implementations of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology on sUAS. (Federal Aviation Administration, 2018).
I can foresee the FAA enforcing this requirement on sUAS as it has for general aviation. I believe this implementation of ADS-B on sUAS will not have a measurable positive impact on safety or efficiency. The market is gearing up to meet the demands of the requirement by miniaturizing the ADS-B e.g. Ping2020 (The world’s smallest and lightest ADS-B solutions for sUAS, 2016) and TIM-SC1 (Miniature ADS-B Technology for sUAS & UTM/U-Space Implementation, 2018).
From a design standpoint, we know the implementation of design modifications after production is a higher cost proposition (Austin, 2010). It will increase the production cost on the new models. It will cost money to the existing user on both retrofitting costs and down time. From the safety standpoint, the FAA currently has systems/procedures in place which protect both the public and manned aircraft. The FAA does not allow certain operations yet created a waivers procedure to allow these operations. This waiver procedure serves as notice to the manned aircraft pilot. The responsible pilot can find this information by calling flight service briefer, via Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) (Notam retrieval, 2010) and several mobile applications and websites. ADS-B will not improve positional integrity reporting as compared to secondary radar service areas (Syd Ali, 2016) and it does not improve my image gathering for the preparation of maps.
Safety is the responsibility of both the sUAS and the manned aircraft pilots. See and avoid is the responsibility of both pilots. While the manned pilot may not be able to see the sUAS he can mitigate. The remote pilot shall follow procedures and be vigilant.
Austin, R. (2010). Unmanned aircraft systems: UAVs design, developmeent and deployment. Southern Gate: John Wiley& Sons Ltd.
Federal Aviation Administration. (2018, November 29). Retrieved from Modernization of U.S. Airspace:
Miniature ADS-B Technology for sUAS & UTM/U-Space Implementation. (2018). Retrieved from Unmanned Systems Technology:
Notam retrieval. (2010, February 12). Retrieved from Defence internet NOTAM service:
Safety: The Foundation of Everything We Do. (2017, July 24). Retrieved from Federal Aviation Administration:
Syd Ali, B. S. (2016). Analysis of anomalies in ADS-B and its GPS data. GPS Solutions, 20(3), 429-4338. doi:10.1007/s10291-015-0453-5
The world’s smallest and lightest ADS-B solutions for sUAS. (2016). Retrieved from uAvionix:


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.


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.


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.



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, 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 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, UAS/Drones, Uncategorized

Certificate of Authorization for My Employer

I starting the process for the approval of  an FAA COA approval for Miami Dade County Transportation and Publics Works Department. This was in May of 2015. The application has gone back and forward a number of times. As of today 5/4/2016 is not  approved.

As this was going on a change in the COA application requirements has taken place. In a matter of weeks I was awarded a Blanket COA (new Application submitted) to 400 AGL, Class E and  including a very extensive Operational Area. With this approval comes a great degree of responsibility.

Fly responsibly, you are  operation equipment that could be harmful to all other aircrafts.

I was on final approach and the tower reported drone spotted at 1000 ft on 10R (ten right) landing path. I never spotted the drone. That was scary for me not knowing if I was going to contact another flying object that could have caused: at minimal property damage not to mention possible crashing my vessel and death.

Please make sure you operate away from airports and other Areas which could be found in an application called “B4UFLY” on the app store and or Google Play. I was a beta tester for this app and its really great and a tool for you to have if you are to operate a drone.

Remember also drones from 0.55 lbs to 55 lbs must be registered with the FAA.


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