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Hyperspectral imager yields crop health data

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Researchers at the Instituto de Agricultura Sostenible (IAS) in Spain are using hyperspectral image sensors onboard UAVs to monitor agricultural vegetation. The technology is used to render spectral scenes of farmlands and crop fields, which gives health information about the plants.

Headwall Photonics’ Micro-Hyperspec imaging sensor was used in the studies. Pablo Zarco-Tejada, a principal investigator at the IAS, commented: 'We've pioneered this technology aboard unmanned airborne platforms and the data we're able to collect about agriculture and croplands helps us make life-enriching decisions for everyone.'

A mosaic of the flight patterns yields a tremendous amount of useful data about the vegetation below. The use of long-duration UAVs means better stability aloft, and larger data volumes stored during each flight.

'Headwall's Micro-Hyperspec technology and their applications support have allowed us to achieve what matters most in our field of work: outstanding spectral/spatial resolution and high dynamic range in a rugged, small-form-factor package,' continued Zarco-Tejada.

David Bannon, CEO of Headwall Photonics, said: 'Size, weight and power requirements are important concerns when deploying this technology aboard airborne vehicles, so we developed and engineered the aberration-corrected Micro-Hyperspec sensor with that in mind.'

With a small size and fully integrated payload weight of less than 1.5 lbs., the Micro-Hyperspec imaging sensor is an ideal sensor for very small UAV platforms. The sensor is available in VNIR configurations (380-1,000nm) and NIR configurations (900-1,700nm). It is available as a complete airborne configuration consisting of a small, accurate GPS/INS unit, data processing engine with high capacity, solid state drive, and application software necessary to acquire and display hyperspectral datacubes with exceptional spectral and spatial resolution.

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