Jack and Hugh Wrangham of Drone Ag are launching a crowdfunding campaign, aiming to raise £250,000 to fund further development of their new Skippy Scout software; a practical smartphone application that automates crop scouting using drones and analyses the data using Artificial Intelligence (AI). The funds will allow the business to develop new features, hire new talent in-house, and take the platform to market over the next 18 months.
The brothers have developed their Skippy Scout app to autonomously fly a drone around a field, collecting very high resolution photos at various points. The drone can do this up to ten times faster than someone on foot, covering up to 2 hectares per minute of flight. The leaf-level imagery is then beamed straight back to the phone, where it can be analysed, giving the user useful crop information immediately.
Hugh, who helps to run the family farm, and also works on Research and development (R&D)
within Drone Ag, says, ‘Building on our years of experience, we knew we needed a system that saves us time and provides us data we can readily use. We also wanted to lower the barriers of entry both in terms of cost and complexity.’
He continues, ‘Having this information straight away means I can confidently assess pest, weed and disease levels in the field and I can make informed decisions to deal with them quickly and accurately, which will help to crop damage and increase yields.’
Over 100 people have signed up to test the app in its early testing phase, and the company is now planning the next stages of development, with the aim to fully integrate their AI to detect green area index, weeds, disease and growth stage automatically, as well as adding variable-rate mapping capabilities.