About Us

AirPad, the Aerial Imaging Reconnaissance Program for Agricultural Development, is a student organization at Iowa State University. Created in August 2010, AirPad is a multi-disciplinary research-based organization whose mission is to design, build, and test an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for use in agricultural remote sensing that can be deployed in the developing world.

Currently, our members are in the process of building the version 2 model of our agricultural remote sensing system. Meanwhile, work has begun on the more robust version 3.

These semi-autonomous UAVs will be equipped with an embedded autopilot, camera, near-infrared lens, and GPS locator, enabling them to fly over crops while collecting multi-spectrum images that can be overlaid with high-accuracy GPS data. These images will give farmers a birds-eye view perspective of their crops, enabling them to better understand how they can improve the land to produce a larger crop yield.

By using an embedded autopilot system, a user at a base station can relay imaging coordinates to the self-controlled aircraft remotely so that less user interaction is required throughout the imaging process.

The end result of these UAV platforms is to produce a geo-referenced mosaic image of the farmer’s crops that can provide information on how to increase the fertility of the imaged land.

AirPad is made up  of Iowa State University students from many different colleges across campus, and is open to all Iowa State University students.

For more information about AirPad, please contact airpad@iastate.edu