ThirdEye: Flying Sensors to support farmers’ decision making

Flying Sensors, sometimes referred to as drones, provide high resolution information on crop status. Our innovation provides this information at: (i) an ultra-high spatial resolution, (ii) an unprecedentedly flexibility in location and timing, (iii) a spectrum outside the human eye. The latter is very important since this information shows potential threats to crops such as droughts, diseases, fertilizer stress, about 10-days earlier compared to the human eye observation.
Technology validated in lab.
Basic technological components are integrated to establish that they will work together. This is relatively “low fidelity” compared with the eventual system. Examples include integration of “ad hoc” hardware in the laboratory.
The Flying Sensor approach information has been tested, validated and demonstrated the different components of the system at very different boundary conditions and in the frame of different projects (REDSIM, GEISEQ, DMIAT, ThirdEye – see FutureWater website for details). The current innovation integrates these components into one single service (TRL 4). The next step is to validate the service for a test site (i.e. an experimental farm) to upgrade the service to TRL6.

How does it work?

Flying Sensors (drones) are equipped with high resolution cameras that collect information in the near-infrared spectrum. Compared to the human eye, crops stress can be seen in the near-infrared about 10 days earlier providing farmers ample time to respond. Special focus will be put on disease detection by looking at in-field scale variability and the evolution of a stress location over a couple of days. The latter will be done by innovative image analysis and forecast procedures.