A Californian winemaker is harnessing IoT sensors and drone technology to collect data regarding their crops.
The Hahn Estate Winery, which is home to 1,100 acres of grapes, has decided to employ the cutting-edge methods as a response to the fourth consecutive year of drought in the US state.
The drones are manufactured by PrecisionHawk and contain a number of sensors, including visual, multispectral, thermal and hyperspectral, which collect data and upload it to the cloud in real time. The unmanned aircraft is able to self-monitor its performance levels while in flight and reportedly has a number of benefits for agricultural firms. As well as analysing drainage, pathogens and yield estimates, the drones also help prevent birds from eating crops.
Commercial drone use has been a controversial topic, particularly in the US where the Federal Aviation Administration has issued prohibitive regulations. The likes of Amazon and Google have encountered difficulties when it came to launching their own drone projects, but the FAA does seem to be relenting somewhat. As well as being used at Hahn Estate Winery, a number of insurers have also been granted permission to use drones for risk assessment.
IoT and drones
Information gathered by the drones at the Californian winery is combined with data collected from ground-based IoT sensors in order to get a more holistic view of crop health. The data is then processed by Verizon’s IoT analytics platform to provide round-the-clock monitoring and hopefully, generate valuable insights.
“In agriculture IoT analytics can help drive up revenues – we’re seeing drones being used to map crop yield and gather data which can be analysed to help the farmer determine how to increase the harvest,” Greg Hanson, vice president of business operations EMEA at Informatica, told Internet of Business.
With potential applications in other industries, including search and rescue, geology, and infrastructure surveying, it might not be long before drones achieve broader commercial success.