Sentera has announced the availability of a Micro Gimbal upgrade for Sentera Single sensors mounted on the DJI Phantom 4 Pro, Advanced, or Standard drone platforms. The micro gimbal compensates for drone pitch and roll so that the Single captures imagery closer to a straight-down (nadir) position. Sentera’s latest offering will help agricultural professionals collect more uniform normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI) or normalized difference red edge (NDRE) data across a wider range of operating and environmental conditions.
“Sentera’s Micro Gimbal for the NDVI and NDRE Single sensors couldn’t come at a better time for our Northern Hemisphere customers,” said Kris Poulson, vice president of agriculture for Sentera. “Especially relevant for ag professionals in wind-prone regions, this advancement removes yet another data-collection variable and allows producers to focus on data insights and application decisions.”
Drone pitch and roll, especially in windy conditions or higher-speed operations, alter the angle at which a photo is taken relative to the ground. Deviations away from “straight-down” can slightly bias the vegetative index measurement derived from that photo. Helping agricultural professionals access consistently better data was a driving force behind Sentera’s latest advancement.
“Our most sophisticated sensors compensate for the angle of the sun and the camera relative to the ground, known as the bidirectional reflectance distribution function, or BRDF,” said Ryan Nelson, Sentera’s chief mechanical engineer. “The micro-gimbal product eliminates part of the variability that arises from BRDF for our smallest and most affordable imagers. Once the imager is stabilized with the micro gimbal, the remaining effects, like those due to the position of the sun in the sky, can be largely eliminated in software.”
“Angle of incidence has some effect on vegetative index measurements. Without compensation, growers could see small variations even flying the same field under different wind direction or velocities. Micro Gimbal users will see more uniformity in their data,” added Nelson.
The Micro Gimbal Upgrade easily integrates onto the Phantom 4 Pro, Advanced, or Standard drone platform. As with Sentera’s traditional NDVI and NDRE Single Sensor upgrades, the micro gimbal upgrade does not change the performance or function of the factory-supplied DJI Phantom 4 gimbaled RGB camera.
Current owners of a Phantom 4 drone with a Single Sensor Upgrade can perform the micro gimbal installation themselves. Micro Gimbal upgrades will be installed by Sentera or an authorized dealer when included with a new Phantom 4 crop scouting solution or a new Single Sensor upgrade.
The Micro Gimbal enables users with relatively high accuracy requirements to achieve their measurement objectives using lower-cost equipment. BRDF compensation isn’t necessary in every application and Sentera can help users determine if their application requires a gimbaled or fixed-mount Single.
All Single sensor variants are compatible with Sentera’s Micro Gimbal. Sentera NDVI and NDRE Single Sensors feature high-sensitivity global shutter imagers and low-distortion optics for crisp, clear aerial data collection. Every Sentera Sensor includes a 12-month subscription to Sentera FieldAgent, allowing users to autonomously fly, make in-field assessments, perform analytics, and integrate data products with the digital platform of their choice. Users using FieldAgent’s QuickTile capability will notice a significant improvement in the in-field QuickTile product due to better nadir pointing.