Over the past few years, it’s been virtually impossible to attend and ag conference and not encounter, or at least engage in a conversation about the potential for unmanned aerial systems (UAS). Despite the fact that regulations are still being developed for commercial use by the Federal Aviation Administration, UAS are being flown and tested as farmers and consultants try develop a strategy for implementing them in their operations.
While advancements in the aircraft itself have grown by leaps and bounds, and cameras have grown increasingly powerful, the capabilities of remote sensing technology, and the ability to turn those images quickly into usable data, has lagged behind.
We met two gentlemen from Israel this year from a company called Sensilize that have been working on a solution for a couple of years now, and are poised to formally introduce the technology to the US market in 2015.
Sensilize CEO Robi Stark had worked on remote sensing systems for defense and civil applications for more than two decades before partnering up with Yoav Zur, CTO, to focus a new company on taking sensing technology to agriculture. They spent much of the first 18 months travelling the US, and the world, talking to farmers, consultants, agronomists, and technology manufacturers about what was needed in the remote sensing space.
The result, they believe, is a more sophisticated sensor and robust algorithms that reveal more accurate and more detailed information about plant and soil health. The physical unit they have developed, called the Robin, features a seven-band sensor that delivers deeper, more accurate and more consistently calibrated data.
Stark sees the system being of most utility to agronomic service providers who would have the expertise to integrate the imagery data with other field information as part of a larger recommendation regimen.