An estimated 168 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted in North America each year[i], with 49 million tonnes lost or wasted at the pre-harvest stage alone[ii]. Additionally, 20% to 40% of food production is lost to pests and diseases before it leaves the farm[iii]. Impacts include 193 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, 55 million acres of cropland production being wasted and a US$278 billion loss in the market value of annual food production.
Precision agriculture is playing a pivotal role in tackling this problem – and the market is predicted to reach US$10 billion globally by 2023, up from US$4.8 billion in 2017[iv]. In that light, says Cape Town-based Aerobotics, it crisscrossed the US during July to introduce growers to its world-leading tree crop and vine artificial intelligence and empower them to participate in this sustainability solution during the inaugural Trees & Tech US Roadshow.
Aerobotics is a software and analytics company that uses artificial intelligence to collect high-resolution drone imagery to survey fields for growers and crop insurers and produce per-tree analytics including health, canopy area, height, and volume. The company’s focused drone scouting and inspection capabilities are used to detect and classify pests and diseases as well as to accurately estimate yields 15 times faster and with 20 times more data points than current methods. To date, 35 million trees have been processed globally, with 30 million identified in the last 12 months.
Aerobotics’ CEO James Paterson says: “We are very grateful to our partners AgFunder, Farmers Business Network, MicaSense, the Produce Marketing Association, the Farmer Veteran Coalition, Scholar Farms, SenseFly, AgProz, HarvestPort and Blue Book Services for enabling us to share the world’s top-performing early-stage problem detection technology with forward-thinking audiences around the country.”
During the Roadshow, the agritech company engaged with over 250 growers, pest control agents, resellers and extension agents across the country, including the largest citrus and apple growers in the world.
Alastair Curtis, Aerobotics’ Head of USA Operations, said that growers who attended were particularly interested in the company’s yield prediction and estimation capabilities as no one has done this before. “In addition, drone operators who were present at the events consistently expressed that ours was the best software they had ever seen.”
One of these operators, Mark Hull, who is the Owner of All Drone Solutions, says: “Aerobotics is in a prime position to really make an impact on the agriculture industry and how it uses aerial data. Their approach to working both with those farmers who own drones or those who do not want to own or manage drones allows for a lot of flexibility and options. It makes the job of getting the data easier and less of a hassle – a ‘one call does it all’ type of approach.
“The analytics offered by Aerobotics is what really separates them from the rest. They offer the most complete and advanced set of analytics and scouting tools available to growers today. They have considered the many different needs of growers and provide a very clean and user-friendly control panel. The process of setting up a scouting route, and the integration of their scouting app, is impressive and very powerful. The scouting app completes the missing link where so many drone data companies have been falling short.”
Gina Northover-Moore, CEO of Ag Drone Data Services, says: “What we have found with using competitors’ programs is that they’re buggy, and the process time takes several hours. We don’t have several hours to wait and see if our maps are uploaded correctly and then go through evaluating each map. When using Aerobotics, clients can do all their work within one program, and the program is solid. With other programs, we cannot share the data with our customers for review. The competitors have their software locked down to where it’s difficult for our clients to view the reports on third party programs.
“With Aerobotics, it’s all there, and reliable, with so many options to view the health analysis of your crops whether you’re in the office or the field. It’s a rock-solid program that we’re excited to utilize for our farmers and growers here in the Western US.”
“We now farm in a Digital Era where it is all about using data to make farming practices more efficient, make decisions at the right times and plan better. By taking our technology to growers via the Trees & Tech US Roadshow, we have shown them that they can have accurate data about every single tree in their fields quite literally in the palm of their hands on the Aeroview app, enabling them to make data-driven decisions that can prevent food loss and waste,” says Tim Willis, Aerobotics’ COO.
To help growers take full advantage of precision agriculture, Aerobotics has invested in setting up a world-class team and has relocated key management to the United States.
For more information, go to www.aerobotics.com or to get the Aeroview app, go to the App Store or Google Play: