MERC Supports Agricultural UAS Initiatives

TIFTON, GA (February 11, 2014) – Mercer Engineering Research Center is providing engineering expertise and funding support for a Mercer University senior engineering project to design an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) for the collection and analysis of crop data to support Georgia farmers.  Mercer engineering students have designed a lightweight quadcopter which they plan to fly over Georgia farms once they receive approval from the FAA this spring.

UAS Design Concept

Emily Minch (Computer Engineering), Wilson Elias (Mechanical Engineering) and Tanner Thompson (Electrical Engineering) brief their UAS design concept.

The students had an opportunity to present their UAS design during the 2nd Annual Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in Precision Agriculture Conference held 11-13 February in Tifton, GA.  The conference was hosted by the Atlanta Chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), with support from the Georgia Center of Innovation for Aerospace (COI-A).  MERC is a member of the COI-A UAS working group and also participated in the conference.

The purpose of the conference was to bring together experts from the agriculture business and a diverse group of individuals from industry and academia involved in UAS innovation in order to discuss how UAS technology can be used to support American farmers.

Agriculture is expected to play a significant role in the eventual introduction of UAS into the national airspace and is expected to account for 80% of the commercial UAS market, or $83B, over the next 10 years.

The conference attendees gained a better perspective of the specific needs of the agriculture industry and came away with increased awareness of how UAS could be used as a tool to support farmers and crop consultants.

About Mercer Engineering Research Center

Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC) is the research and applied engineering arm of Mercer University, a private university founded in 1833. For over 175 years the University has served Georgia as a highly-respected educational institution. In 1984, the School of Engineering was established at the Macon, Georgia campus, with the charter class beginning studies in 1985.

Two years later, in 1987, the Mercer Engineering Research Center was established under the School of Engineering to provide locally available engineering and scientific services and critical specialized technical skills. Today, MERC functions as a non-profit operating unit of the University, with the Executive Director, Dr. David Barwick, reporting directly to the University president, Mr. William D. Underwood.

To learn more, please visit MERC's website at www.merc-mercer.org.