Drones vs pests and diseases

Aerobotics CEO, James Paterson.

Disease identification technology and database launched precision agriculture event...

Cape Town start-up, Aerobotics, provides farmers around the world with world-leading pest and disease management systems for tree crop protection using drone and satellite data. The company was co-founded by James Paterson (CEO) and Benji Meltzer (CTO) in 2014.

Farming is a risky business with pests and disease often reducing a farmer’s yields. Aerobotics’software, Aeroview, empowers tree crop farmers to identify early stage problems in their orchards. Used in conjunction with the Aerobotics’ Aeroview Scout App on their smartphone, farmers are able to locate problem areas on a tree-by-tree basis.

Achieving success for more than 6 million trees to-date, Aerobotics is setting the standard for tree crop analytics globally and innovating the agricultural processes as we know them.

Aerobotics’ new leaf-by-leaf Drone Scouting Application will give farmers access to artificial intelligence (AI) that detects the exact problems impacting their trees, quickly, accurately and without having to step foot onto the crop themselves.

Five new innovations launched at the Future of Farming 2018 events held in October:

● Automated problem detection for trees using multispectral cameras, visual cameras and satellite imagery

● Scouting routes generated by Artificial Intelligence (AI)

● Drone scouting within one metre of individual trees to capture imagery

● Artificial Intelligence (AI) disease identification through Aerobotics’ database

● Intuitive reporting to give the farmer key, actionable insights

The announcements were made during Aerobotics’ Future of Farming 2018 events, which were not held in city centers, but in 11 locations in mostly farming communities around South Africa with more than 700 people in attendance.

“We have been working extremely hard over the past few years with growers and industry partners to create technology that will completely change how farmers manage their crops, identify stressed trees and spot individual pests and diseases without stepping foot on the farm,” said Aerobotics Co-Founder and CEO James Paterson. “This kind of technology has been the stuff of agri-tech legend, but today we are making the Future of Farming a reality.”

Once the drones capture high resolution images of stressed trees, these images will be run through Aerobotics’ first-ever tree crop and vineyard pest and disease detection database. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, pests and disease will be identified, and the results then communicated via push notifications to the farmer. Additionally, the Aeroview system will now automatically generate scout routes for farmers using Aerobotics’ AI.

“Until now, the farmer has had to take time to visit each individual tree and rely on past experience and knowledge in the field to identify pests and disease,” said Aerobotics Data Science Manager Michael Malahe. “Now, Aeroview has the technology to do all of this for the farmer. The amount of time, energy and money that farmers can save with Aerobotics’ new technology is impressive.”

Once the system has automatically detected problem trees that need further investigation and a scout route has been planned using AI, Aerobotics’ Drone Scouting Application will send the route to a drone.

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