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Using Copernicus Earth Observation radar data to disrupt Precision Agriculture

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AgroRadar (Using Copernicus Earth Observation radar data to disrupt Precision Agriculture)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

With AgroRadar, we want to address the new market opportunity of using Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data from Copernicus in Precision Agriculture (PA) services, namely solving specific issues that normal optical satellite data cannot tackle, such as the estimation of biomass under forest canopy (producing forest fire hazard maps); permanent monitoring (usually 5-day radar data, not affected by clouds, fog, etc.); surveillance of forest biomass; specific crop information (i.e. estimating yield of shaded coffee crops, tomato growth); more precise crop yield calculations (i.e. corn, tomato, rice, vineyards, olive groves, horticultures); soil and water audits, including water systems (i.e. overwatered areas, system leaks) and mapping of water-based plants, including the segmentation by species of river and lake plants (i.e. comprehensive and time-based study of eutrophication)
In particular, we go beyond current PA services, by providing low cost (automated) solutions to small and medium farms, and also provide new territorial services for banks, insurance companies (asset owners) and governmental agencies (subsidy control, fire protection, etc.).
The objective of the overall AgroRadar project is to deploy a scalable PA service based on Copernicus Earth Observation data (using optical but also SAR imagery) available to farmers worldwide, tailored for diverse types of crops and livestock explorations.
The goal of the project is to optimize our Copernicus EO big data algorithms, in order to further automate data mining and pre-processing of PA reports, namely the time-lapse images (using the current 5-day refresh rate) that provide timely decision support information to farmers, agronomists and public entities.
The expected outcome of AgroRadar is a robust cloud-based back office that processes Copernicus Earth Observation data and provides it in a user-friendly way to the end-user in a browser and mobile app.
With our Phase 1 Feasibility Study we have reached the conclusion that AgroRadar is a highly innovative PA service, with several unique selling points that far outperform current competition. Therefore, we will further develop our business case and apply to a Phase 2 project.
During the Phase 1 project we performed a technological feasibility study where we defined the final functionalities for the AgroRadar platform, and have defined demonstration pilots to perform in the Phase 2.
We also carried out a detailed market assessment and competitor analysis, and have interviewed clients from Brazil, Portugal, Spain, UK, France, Germany, Poland, Mozambique and Angola.
Regarding IPR, we have confirmed our Freedom to Operate, as our algorithms cannot be the target of a patent, but instead are our own trade secret. With this in mind, we will focus on trademark registration in our potential markets.
A business model assessment has been performed and we established a detailed risk assessment of our project, with a comprehensive work plan for the Phase 2 project. All our findings have been documented in a Business Plan and Feasibility Study that we will annex to our Phase 2 proposal.
With our Phase 1 grant we have received significant support from our SME Instrument Coach, and the company’s visibility in Portugal has exponentially grown (business opportunities and institutional relations). From the market analysis point of view, we have strengthened our knowledge of our potential markets and of the competition.
We have established a detailed workplan for the demonstration of AgroRadar, and we will apply for a SME Instrument Phase 2 project. We have several potential clients in different EU countries and Brazil that are willing to participate in a Phase 2 demonstrator pilot.
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