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Innovative drone-based solution for agriculture

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - APMAV (Innovative drone-based solution for agriculture)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2017-08-31

HEMAV, a technology-based SME leader in civil services with UAV, is developing Layers under the project APMAV, the tool that will ensure the entrance of the European agriculture in the digital era and the 4.0 Industry. It consists in a full stack approach, leveraging several technology developments including deep learning frameworks, advancement in computer vision, and rapid commoditization of sensors, cameras, and UAVs to address the above-mentioned challenges. APMAV consists of an intuitive solution for agricultural management based on drone technology and an intelligent cloudbased platform, that provides farmers valuable, actionable and real-time recommendations that drive down costs and improves crop performance.
Data is acquired with thermal, multispectral or hyperspectral sensors by HEMAV's drone during flight and is sent automatically to the cloud-based HEMAV Data Center for processing. Specialized reports are generated by a software and algorithms developed during the last two years by HEMAV to analyze anomalies in the fields and give specific recommendations to the farmer. A secure web portal displays the reports that a costumer can access. Moreover, specific recommendations can be integrated automatically with other farming tools as tractors, irrigation systems or ERPs (Drone-to-tractor technology).
Thanks to big data and machine learning techniques, Layers will provide value-added reporting to farmers aiming at improving their decision-making process and the exploitation management. These are: 1) Application of phytosanitary products, fertilization and irrigation; 2) Harvest planning; 3) Detection and prediction of plagues and diseases; 4) Fruit organoleptic or chemical qualities discrimination; 5) Discrimination of areas according to the fertilization potential; 6) Determination of the hydric condition. All of this will be achieved through an easy-to-use support decision tool that “speaks” the farmer’s language.
In the last six months a deep study has been performed assessing the developments needed to address the feasibility from different perspectives.
AgroWOW Commercial Feasibility Assessment: Different commercial models have been proven. As explained in the corresponding sections, the technical and operational strategies as well as product-market fit have been validated. Commercialization has been the most thought and complex action. The key here is not in the added value of the product or the technological viability but the willingness of the industry and the integration of the services provided by HEMAV in their work process.
Rules and Regulations: HEMAV has performed the process to be compliant with current regulations in Spain, Portugal, UK, France, Italy in Europe; Mexico, Brazil and Colombia in LATAM; and Morocco in Africa. The company represents European civil drone operators in CORUS SESAR-H2020 project and is one of the main stakeholders in different WG and organizations at both national and international levels. A comprehensive study of freedom to operate in target countries has been performed and conclusions are positive for the deployment foreseen.
IPR Strategy: IP related “freedom to operate” has been assessed and IP strategy has been defined.
Reliability and Competitiveness: Safety and Cybersecurity comitees have been set up to ensure reliability of the solution at different levels. Regarding competitors, HEMAV is, with this project, going beyond the state-of-the-art in the agronomical implementation. This latter point has been confirmed with A-players of the agronomical industry at international level.
As conclusion of the action, the perspective of the international market, along with the vision of the variety of uses that the combination of the digital tools to be developed and the use of unmanned aerial vehicles have been confirmed. Some modifications from the initial conception such as the introduction of integration and interconnectivity with IoT-Digital Agro platforms and standards have arised.
Next steps foreseen passes thorough the internationalization and deployment of the solution the extension of the concept to Energy and Civil Engineering business lines. In order to accomplish this ambitious steps, funding sources from VC to public funding schemes such as SMEi Ph. II will be prospected to continue with the development and make from this project an international and disruptive reality.