Drone Sensors

UAS can carry almost any sensor-type that fits their loading capacity, but we will focus on imaging sensors here.

RGB: Traditional digital camera sensors that capture spectral information in the Red, Green, and Blue (RGB) parts of the electromagnetic spectrum that correspond with colors visible to the human eye.

Suggested models:

  • Sony a6000/a5100 (Qikiqtaruk team 2015/16 Multirotor)
  • Sony RX100ii-v series (Qikiqtaruk team 2016/2017 Fixedwing)
  • DJI Phantom 4 RGB (same sensor as Sony RX100 series, Qikitaruk team 2017)
  • DSLR models – e.g. Nikon D810 (only for very large multirotors)
  • CHDK enabled Canon S100 or similar
  • Note: avoid GoPros if possible.  The significant lens distortion affects data product quality.

Multispectral: Capture spectral information from a broader range of the electromagnetics spectrum, often inclusive of the near infrared (NIR), infrared (IR), or ultraviolet (UV) parts of the spectrum that can be used to provide more information about plant health/productivity.

Suggested models:

Parrot Sequoia (https://www.micasense.com/sequoia/)


MicaSense Red Edge (https://www.micasense.com/rededge/)


NIR modified Sony a6000 (http://www.mosaicmill.com/products_other/ndvi-cameras.html)

Mounting your sensor on your drone platform will take some consideration.  Options include multi-axis gimbals to static mounts.  It is now possible to 3D print mounts for certain sensors including the Parrot Sequioa for some drone platforms, and some of these sorts of mounts could be adapted for other platforms.

Drone sensor mounts can be 3D printed such as this Sequoia mount for a 3DR Solo for example available on thingiverse (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1674587/apps).