A Portuguese aerospace SME has developed and runs a global, crop monitoring Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based web application that uses satellite and drone data to generate insights for farmers to take action without expert knowledge. They seek as partners companies of any size, preferably able to connect with drone operators, under commercial agency agreements.
The Portuguese aerospace company – established in 2006 – develops optical instruments with on-board processing and computer vision, artificial intelligence and navigation & control systems for applications ranging from Earth observation to planetary missions to the Moon, Mars, and small bodies. The company has been developing technology in remote sensing, machine vision, data fusion and machine learning since 2008. The initial goal was an autonomous hazard detection and avoidance (HDA) system for a Lunar lander, which spawned other variants for Mars and Small Bodies landers. The system has been successfully demonstrated in flight over a Mars-like terrain on Earth making it the reference in Europe. Subsequently, the technology developed in this context was spun-off to remote sensing commercial applications, such as crop monitoring. It is a continuous development effort which has been focusing on CNN-based (Convolutional Neural Network) crop segmentation, automatic image co-registration, heterogeneous data fusion (e.g. drone and satellite) and recommender systems. The company has developed and runs a global subscription-based web app that uses AI, satellite, and drone data to generate insights for farmers to take action without expert knowledge. The application breaks with legacy solutions, in that it fuses satellite and drone data, taking advantage of both sources: high temporal resolution from satellite and high spatial resolution from drone. This allows the application to provide high accuracy plant-level data, plant inventory and gaps, fertilisation zones, user adjustable dynamic zoning. More than 1700 hectares of vineyards are currently being monitored through the app. Benefits for users (and value proposals) - Detect, locate and count crop gaps – manage the exploration lifecycle: - know the actual number of plants or crop area - know where to apply resources - know where to replant - Guided scouting & sampling – save on inputs & reduce losses - detect problems before they are visible - scout suspicious locations more efficiently - sample key locations based on plant data - reduce losses - save on pesticides & herbicides - Create management zones – save on inputs - understand intra-parcel variability - create different management zones automatically - tailor management approaches to zone specificities - save on inputs - monitor impacts of treatments - Selective harvesting (Vineyards) – increase crop value - assess intra-parcel grape quality and yield variability - create different harvest zones automatically based on quality - adjust zone sizes to meet quality and quantity targets - produce different quality wines and increase returns for the same area The SME is looking for commercial agents covering specific geographical regions, willing to sell the crop monitoring service to farmers. It will provide training on the crop monitoring service, marketing material (such as videos, website and brochures in electronic format) and case studies. The target crops are (by priority): 1) vineyards, 2) fruit and nut orchards and, 3) other row crops. The target customers are: - large and medium growers, - growers associations and - consulting services companies. The sought agents shall be paid on a percentage (to be agreed) of the sales price. Benefits for the potential partners: - The product/technology provided by the company allows the images acquired by drones, to be converted into higher value data/information/insights. - The product allows the potential partners to reach a market that needs actionable information, not images. - The partnership can offer the potential partners a commercial portfolio dating from 2017, including the top wine growers in Portugal.
Type (e.g. company, R&D institution…), field of industry and Role of Partner Sought:
The SME is seeking Commercial Agents to sell the crop monitoring service to potential customers covering specific geographical regions. It will provide training on the crop monitoring service, marketing material (such as videos, website and brochures in electronic format) and case studies. The target crops are (by priority): 1) vineyards, 2) fruit and nut orchards and 3) other row crops. The target customers are: - large and medium growers, - growers associations and - consulting services companies. The partner shall be paid on a percentage (to be agreed) of the sales price.
Technical Specification or Expertise Sought:
The partner sought should be a commercial agent able to perform drone operations or connected to a drone operator, with capacity to acquire multispectral images over agricultural fields.
Stage of Development:
Already on the market
Comments Regarding Stage of Development:
The technical solution was validated from 2014 to 2016 in the context of two research projects carried out with one of the reference agronomy faculties in Portugal, an association of growers, and growers/wine makers in the Douro valley. The application has paying customers in Portugal since 2017. The application is recurringly monitoring more than 1700 hectares of vineyards (as of 2020) in Portugal (corresponding to ~1% of vineyard area in Portugal). The company is currently expanding the crop monitoring service to other markets, targeting by priority: 1) vineyards, 2) fruits & nuts orchards and 3) other row crops.