Drone technology on display at 50th World Ag Expo

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The 50th Anniversary of the World Ag Expo kicked off with the usual tradition of opening ceremonies.

The bleachers were filled, but meanwhile, hundreds of exhibitors were getting down to business, introducing their new products to the thousands of visitors streaming in.

One such company was Southern California's AeroVironment, a large supplier of unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, to the Department of Defense.

"We're really good at building airplanes and we decided to enter the commercial space with Quantix and that's what we're doing today here, is letting everyone know about it," said AeroVironment Director of Sales Mark Dufau.

Quantix is a one-touch hybrid, commercial drone that the company says can cover 400 acres in 45 minutes, collecting data and producing high-resolution images beneficial for farmers.

"It's really a great ROI. in time, saving time, evaluating 100% of a crop, rather than a very small percentage of it," Dufau said. "And having that perspective for business cases is very nice and people can grow their business substantially if they can cover more acreage."

HerdDogg Incorporated, a new company out of Colorado, has found a way to enhance their product using drone technology.

The company markets itself as the alternative to radio frequency identification, or RFID, which is used to track farm animals.

But beyond simply tracking them, HerdDogg collects data and creates a complete profile of the animal that can be viewed on a farmer's smartphone.

"It's passive, it's smarter, and it's pretty low cost," said HerdDogg CEO Melissa Brandao. "It's a very simple system to use."

On Monday, HerdDogg representatives met with a Clovis rancher and put their dog bone reader on a drone, and the results proved successful.

"You could collect more quickly," Brandao said. "The animals were not affected in any way, so that we weren't really involved directly with the animals. And then from there (the rancher) can take that data and make decisions about whether or not he needs to pick out certain animals if they're not feeling well..."

For more information on AeroVironment and HerdDogg, as well as this year's top ten new products, click on the links below.

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