New artificial intelligence (AI) is now able to interpret drone imagery to help farmers analyse broad acre crops. Skippy Scout version 2.5, the mobile phone app created by Drone Ag, has been developed with unique AI to interpret images taken by a drone. “It was always our intention to develop the software to this stage and we are thrilled to have it ready for users to take advantage of this season,” says Drone Ag founder Jack Wrangham.
Automated analysis of drone imagery can detect the percentage of weeds compared to healthy crop, and count the number of plants per square metre. By analysing the images, the app can also detect disease and is capable of interpreting holes in leaves to highlight insect damage. “This is the most advanced crop scouting tool we have produced and is the culmination of years of development work,” says Mr Wrangham.
The new version of the software will automatically fly a drone to scout fields five times faster than conventional methods. Using AI and satellite data it can then analyse the images to offer data and advice to the user. “Skippy can now count plants, measure healthy crop cover compared to weed cover, report on damaged crops and highlight insect damage,” explains Mr Wrangham.
Satellite data is being fed to the app up to three times a week and appears on the user’s phone as a layer of information. “Users can import their own maps too, giving each a name so that year on year data can be compiled and compared,” says Mr Wrangham. “The AI in Skippy is able to take all of this information to offer analysis and advice based on the data collected from the drone images,” he adds.
The data is subsequently presented in PDF reports that are automatically created by the app. “The reports are easy to understand and can be saved for future benchmarking and comparison. Our aim has always been to make this technology easy to use and accessible for all. Our monthly fee for Skippy is still just £30 for a single farmer and with drone prices below £400 we hope that more farmers will start to adopt this technology to save time crop scouting,” he concludes.
Drone Ag will be holding free to attend, interactive field days to demonstrate the new version of Skippy Scout at five locations throughout the UK. For more information go to www.skippy.farm/roadshow