Share | 12/22/2022
Located in Valencia (Spain), Flydronair is a precision agriculture data and service provider for clients farming fruit, rice, grains, and vineyards. The company’s experts use drone-based multispectral and RGB data for advanced analyses for monitoring crops and improving efficiencies ranging from land use to agricultural inputs.
The analyzed data is often imported into agriculture machinery and implemented for precision farming to optimize and improve soil quality and productivity and for targeted interventions such as plant-level crop spraying and treatment.
A client in Seville, Spain commissioned Flydronair to map its fruit orchards to assess nutrient deficiencies, identify water stress, create harvest forecasts, and suggest improvements that could help them reduce operating costs. For this crop, the client’s agronomist determined the drone flight frequency to be every 40 days.
From the advanced analyses of high-resolution multispectral data captured by MicaSense series’s Altum sensor, the client discovered a pest in the lower part of their orchard. Once detected, field technicians were able to analyze the pest and decide on a course of action. The multispectral data further helped the client predict the spread of the pest, allowing them to plan and strategically eradicate the disease.
Flydronair offers its customers an annual package with technical analyses, reports, treatment options, advice, and data visualizations. This business model requires consistent and reliable high-quality data capture from every flight at every client’s site, and in turn means every flight must be conducted optimally without the need to repeat missions and avoiding downtime due to sensor failures.
Flydronair has been working on this specific farm in Seville for almost 2 years, with the prospect of having their contract renewed.
Most clients, like their client in Seville, have no interest in vegetation indices or specialized data outputs, but require a complete report with data analyses, visualizations, and treatment advice. Offering such simplified solutions to clients demands more time to analyze and present the data and less field time capturing the data. It necessitates a quality sensor that captures accurate data and produces reliable and repeatable results for direct comparisons.
To reliably capture the consistently high-quality multispectral data needed for advanced analyses in precision agriculture, Flydronair chose MicaSense series’s Altum sensor.
When selecting a sensor or any solution, Flydronair’s CEO Pedro Lucas says, “it all comes down to what the data looks like.” Lucas and his team selected the Altum sensor for its high quality and good resolution, its ease of use “even at a software level,” and the sensor’s quality-to-price ratio which Lucas described as “unbeatable.” The infrared thermal sensor was a bonus, making it a comprehensive sensor with the ability to improve data analyses.
Flydronair also has other multispectral cameras, including a DJI P4 Multispectral drone, but they do not have the same or even comparable accuracy to the Altum sensor, explains Lucas.
The Altum’s integrated thermal sensor and five multispectral bands have made the sensor the company’s workhorse. They now typically use it 3 days per week. The thermal imagery integration into the sensor also saves them additional flights by not needing a separate sensor.
For their Seville-based client, Flydronair mapped the fruit orchards with their DJI Matrice 300 and the MicaSense series Altum camera.
From this data, Flydronair produced NDVI, GLI, TGI, NDRE and thermal maps at approximately 3.4 cm (about 1.34 in) GSD. From this high accuracy data, they were able to identify a pest in the lower part of the client’s orchard, predict its spread, and help the client strategically and quickly eradicate it before the pest caused costly damage.
Accurate multispectral data like this, says Lucas, helps their clients reduce their water usage by 90%, their agriculture inputs (pesticides, fertilizer, stimulants) by 30%, and to improve production performance on average by 20%.
Over the last two years, advanced multispectral data has allowed Flydronair’s Seville-based client to increase their crop production by 20% on the same land surface, while lowering their costs and speeding up decision making. Water stressed plants and areas of nutritional deficiencies were also easily identified, prioritized, and treated in time to avoid damage and losses.
Flydronair’s reliability, aided by their use of high-quality sensors such as the Altum, ensures client satisfaction and continued contract renewals such as when their Seville-based client renewed their 2023 contract.
The high-quality multispectral data the company collects also helps build and improves its long-term database created over several years. The database contains all types of deficiencies, water stress and how they are manifested in each crop. Flydronair uses this database as a business tool and differentiator for data comparison to derive even faster, more accurate diagnoses for clients.
Flydronair also works with manufacturers of products for aerial treatment of crops, informed by the data and insights they derive from their work with clients. The more accurate this data is, the more accurate and faster the diagnosis and treatment.
The team also applies their advanced multispectral analysis knowledge and workflows to related domains, including sports field management and reforestation, which require careful water management and monitoring.
Having asserted their expertise and reliability in Spain and Europe, backed by the confidence in their sensor choices, Flydronair is in the process of expanding their operations to Latin America.
“If you work with drones, you have to acquaint yourself with the technologies and expert domain knowledge to select the best solutions,” says Lucas. “AgEagle’s MicaSense sensors are well-known and offer excellent data quality.”
Food production is a perpetual necessity, Lucas says, and high-quality drone data and drone-based treatment are crucial to agricultural success.
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