New app combines drone and satellite data

A partnership between two emerging agricultural technology companies is bringing together drone and satellite data in a crop scouting app. Skippy Scout, an app developed by Drone Ag, will be enhanced with satellite data from French technology pioneer SpaceSense.

The collaboration will see the two technology specialists share data to offer Skippy Scout users the ability to monitor crop health, moisture and soil moisture by using a combination of drone imagery and satellite data. “SpaceSense will provide up to date, and therefore relevant field maps, that allow targeted scouting of the crop with Skippy Scout. The combination of the two will provide our users with a fast and efficient insight into crop health, and more. Satellite mapping tells us where to look in a field and Skippy Scout identifies what potential problems may need to be addressed,” explains Mr Wrangham.

Both businesses are building more advanced machine learning technology to interpret crop performance based on high resolution imagery and satellite earth observation. “Skippy Scout is up to five times faster at crop scouting than traditional crop walking. Incorporating satellite data will help users decide where and when to monitor crops based on GAI, weed detection, leaf formation and soil moisture,” says Mr Wrangham.

Skippy Scout is a phone-based app that automatically flies a drone to points in a field. Images of the crop are sent back to the phone for the farmer to review. Drone Ag will add the functionality to request satellite data including crop health, moisture and soil moisture from SpaceSense. Using an application programming interface (API) Skippy Scout will build a more informed interpretation of the crop using data from SpaceSense. Speaking about the collaboration, SpaceSense co-founder Sami Yacoubi said, “”Our technology enables farmers to get a full vision of their fields every few days, mere hours after the image has been taken by the satellite. This ensures field data is always up to date which will help farmers make quick decisions.”

The goal is to develop mobile phone-based technology with artificial intelligence capable of analysing crops and offering advice to farmers based on images taken by a drone and data collated from satellite observation. “The combination of our technology can save time, reduce chemical use and improve crop performance. It is a cost-effective and sustainable farming aid that can reduce soil damage and help farmers meet the increasing global demand for food,” says Mr Wrangham.

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