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Design Mill Hosts Unmanned Systems & Agriculture Conference

Design Mill Inc. and the Association of Unmanned Systems International (AUVSI)-Heartland Chapter hosted an Unmanned Systems for Agriculture conference at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa on March 4, 2015. The event was titled “Unmanned Systems & Agriculture: Realizing the Field of Dreams.”

The conference brought in over 150 attendees including farmers, researchers, college students, unmanned systems hardware sensor providers, unmanned systems professionals, AUVSI members, as well as the general public.

Core topics included regulatory and legal issues regarding agricultural use for unmanned systems, leading research, and applications for the use of unmanned systems to improve agriculture. More than 20 UAS platform and sensor companies exhibited or attended. Speakers included AUVSI leadership and members, leaders in UAS and agriculture research, and experts in robotics, legal issues, and UAS insurance. The day started with a presentation from keynote speakers, Tim Ray and Brittany Deunsing from Pravia, LLC., on leveraging a 333 exemption for agricultural purposes. Dr. Stewart Moorehead of John Deere Robotics wrapped up the conference with a discussion of how unmanned systems will affect the future of agriculture.

Design Mill Inc. showcased a Virtual Sandtable at the event. It uses infrared sensors to detect the depth of the sand, and creates a constantly updating depth map that shows the position and height of the sand. Using a projector, the Virtual Sandtable overlays images on top of the sand to display the differences in depths. The image projected can update realtime as a colorful topography map or can utilize textures and graphics to create environments.

The conference provided an excellent foundation to foster the use of unmanned systems in agriculture and to network with other professionals in this rapidly growing industry.