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Unoccupied aerial systems adoption in agricultural research
  • +2
  • Jennifer Lachowiec,
  • Max J Feldman,
  • Filipe Inacio Matias,
  • David Lebauer,
  • Alexander Gregory
Jennifer Lachowiec
Plant Science and Plant Pathology, Montana State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Max J Feldman
Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research Unit, USDA-ARS Prosser
Filipe Inacio Matias
North Dakota State University
David Lebauer
Arizona Experiment Station, University of Arizona
Alexander Gregory
Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Oregon State University Hermiston


A comprehensive survey and subject-expert interviews conducted among agricultural researchers investigated perceived value and barriers to the adoption of unoccupied aerial systems (UAS) in agricultural research.  The study involved 154 respondents from 21 countries representing various agricultural sectors. The survey identified three key applications considered most promising for UAS in agriculture: precision agriculture, crop phenotyping/plant breeding, and crop modeling. Over 80% of respondents rated UAS for phenotyping as valuable, with 47.6% considering them very valuable. Among the participants, 41% were already using UAS technology in their research, while 49% expressed interest in future adoption. Current users highly valued UAS for phenotyping, with 63.9% considering them very valuable, compared to 39.4% of potential future users. The study also explored barriers to UAS adoption. The most commonly reported barriers were the "High cost of instruments/devices or software" (46.0%) and the "Lack of knowledge or trained personnel to analyze data" (40.9%). These barriers persisted as top concerns for both current and potential future users. Respondents expressed a desire for detailed step-by-step protocols for drone data processing pipelines (34.7%) and in-person training for personnel (16.5%) as valuable resources for UAS adoption. The research sheds light on the prevailing perceptions and challenges associated with UAS usage in agricultural research, emphasizing the potential of UAS in specific applications and identifying crucial barriers to address for wider adoption in the agricultural sector.
08 Jan 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
29 Jan 2024Published in ESS Open Archive
Dec 2024Published in The Plant Phenome Journal volume 7 issue 1. https://doi.org/10.1002/ppj2.20098