Mar 24, 2020Sony to integrate smart ag system with several AgTech companies
Sony Electronics announced March 23 an expanded ecosystem for its newly enhanced Smart Agriculture Solution with leading AgTech providers.
The system is being integrated with farming solutions from Drones Made Easy, BirdsEyeView Aerobotics, Rantizo and Progeny Drone Inc. Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution supports day-to-day crop management by collecting and analyzing data on growth and health status. Version 2.0 combines high-resolution drone imagery with AI for a more accurate and efficient approach to plant counting and analysis.
Sony will host a webinar with Drones Made Easy at 1 p.m. EST March 31 that will discuss how the company’s lets users review an entire field to evaluate replanting needs. Register here.
“Our team thoroughly researched the various needs for a drone-based remote sensing solution with some of the top agriculture companies, researchers and universities,” said Theresa Alesso, pro division president at Sony Electronics. “That feedback was incorporated into the recent upgrade of Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution and is the basis for the providers selected thus far for this expanded ecosystem. These integrations provide comprehensive, new ways of working for today’s growers that will increase yield with far greater efficiency.”
Version 2.0 adds Sony’s imaging and AI-based technology for stand counting. Stand counting allows growers to assess the plant establishment, enabling replanting decisions to be made earlier and with greater accuracy. The enhanced solution consists of a drone-mounted multi-spectral sensing unit and Fast Field Analyzer image analytics software for in-the-field crop management, monitoring and insights. The Version 2.0 update is designed to allow growers to precisely and easily analyze large areas.
Drones Made Easy
San Diego-based online and retail superstore, Drones Made Easy, developed flight planning software, Map Pilot, a leading photogrammetry data collection app in the App Store. Map Pilot AG is a new app that adds optimized mission planning and flight control for agricultural specific tasks. It takes advantage of Sony’s new stand count feature. Map Pilot AG collects data that is optimized for Sony’s MSZ-2100G multispectral camera for the most accurate results possible.
“Prior to the introduction of Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution, no system existed with multi-spectral cameras and analytics software that worked with small Unmanned Aerial System and could process data easily at the edge of a field. With our new brackets for mounting on to DJI aircraft and our Map Pilot AG software integrated with Sony’s technology, we have a turnkey solution,” explained Tudor Thomas, chief technology officer, Drones Made Easy.
Combined with the Sony’s MSZ-2100G multi-spectral camera and an enterprise drone, Map Pilot AG provides intuitive flight planning for near-ground, high-resolution flight to enable accurate stand counts in addition to traditional overlap-based field mapping.
Drones Made Easy’s new bracket series enables the Sony camera to be mounted on an enterprise drone for professional use. And Map Pilot Ag provides intuitive flight planning of lower altitude flight for stand counting which requires high resolution.
Andover, New Hampshire-based drone manufacturer BirdsEyeView Aerobotics is known for its progressive approach to the commercial drone market. Its vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drone, FireFLY6 PRO, is known for its flight time and speed. The FireFLY6 PRO can cover up to 600 acres in one flight. It can be launched quickly from anywhere and lands accurately and gracefully, eliminating the crash-land pitfalls of pure fixed-wing platforms. The drone is well suited for various applications, including mapping and survey, agriculture and aerial inspection.
The Sony Smart Agriculture solution has been seamlessly integrated into the FireFLY6 PRO with custom, vibration-isolated mounts for Sony’s MSZ-2100G multispectral camera. This provides FireFLY6 PRO operators with the benefit of Sony’s advanced real-time vegetation analytics.
Rantizo is an Iowa City-based company that uses drones to deliver agriculture inputs in field precisely when and where they are needed. The Rantizo platform integrates with field imagery data to prescribe and precisely deliver liquid and dry solutions using targeted drone-based agricultural spraying. Rantizo is the first company approved for drone-based agricultural spraying in multiple states.
Rantizo can deploy multiple drones to deliver same-day agriculture inputs based on the data created and processed by Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution. Sony’s solution provides the imagery on areas in need of spraying, and the Rantizo system sprays only the designated areas. Rantizo’s Fly & Apply System combines Dà-Jiāng Innovations (DJI) drones, Rantizo hardware and software, as well as proprietary software in an integrated solution that identifies in-field anomalies with autonomous, targeted drone-based agricultural spraying.
“We are excited to work with a world class organization like Sony and are impressed with the speed of their system,” said Michael Ott, CEO, Rantizo. “Faster processing leads to nimble systems that can adapt to the ever-changing agricultural environment. With our combined expertise, Rantizo and Sony can determine field issues and deploy the necessary ag inputs to treat problems and maximize yield.”
Progeny Drone Inc.
Purdue University-affiliated startup, Progeny Drone Inc. has created Plot Phenix software that converts aerial crop photos into useful information for plant breeding, crop modeling and precision agriculture. Plot Phenix converts raw drone imagery of outdoor small plot research trials into custom-labelled plot-level metrics of plant growth and health at the field’s edge without internet. The integration of Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution with Plot Phenix means agronomists can collect metrics with streamlined operation such as capturing images without time-consuming calibration target panel use or uploading hundreds of images to the cloud-based on field edge processing system.
“We have worked with many different types of cameras on drones over the last few years,” said Anthony Hearst, PhD, CEO, Progeny Drone Inc. “Many of them are poorly designed and don’t produce accurate measurements. We are thrilled to partner with Sony on their new Smart Agriculture Solution. Sony knows how to properly design and build an affordable camera for a specific purpose that’s easy to use for collecting and processing imagery. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Sony because we believe they will continue to deliver cameras that get agronomists the metrics they need to move agriculture forward.”
In its mission to move the agriculture industry forward in a collaborative way, Sony is in active discussions with additional leading AgTech firms to become part of Sony’s integrated partner network.
Sony’s Version 2.0 update of its Fast Field Analyzer software with stand count feature will be released March 30. Current Smart Agriculture Solution users with a valid subscription plan will be able to automatically download the free upgrade at Sony license web store.