Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Trimble has received Federal Aviation Administration exemption to operate its UX5 Aerial Imaging drone.
The FAA issued the exemption pending the adoption of permanent rules for unmanned aviation vehicles, according to a news release.
The unmanned fixed-wing UX5 is designed for surveying, agriculture, oil and gas, mining, construction and environmental industries.
The system automatically captures a series of high-resolution images during flight, which is typically up to 50 minutes covering as much as 1 square mile.
Users can then view two-dimensional and three-dimensional images that are generated by Trimble's Business Center Aerial Photogrammetry software.
"In the agriculture market, the FAA exemption moves Trimble one step further with the opportunity to provide a solution for safe and legal UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) operations that can benefit growers, ranchers, water management contractors, agronomists and other ag service providers," Joe Denniston, vice president of Trimble's Agriculture Division, said in the release.
"High-speed aerial imaging is a powerful tool that can quickly and easily capture aerial images for scouting and monitoring crop health, locating cattle and their available forage over large areas, measuring crop height, and generating topographic maps and models for land leveling and drainage applications. As a result, the system can be a powerful data collection tool that can aid with recommendations to improve farming operations."