Agriculture is a major area of advancement in the drone industry, thanks to their remarkable ability to provide real time data and perform farmland surveys. The Switzerland based agricultural startup, Gamaya is one of the latest startups to receive funding from investors who want to see the development of drones to improve agricultural yields. According to a report published in May 25 by Business Insider, Gamaya will receive $3.2 million from a host of investors, including Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, the Chairman of Nestle. Gamaya uses drones fitted with a host of special features, including hyperspectral cameras that can take shots displaying fertilizer and water usage, pest infestation and crop yields among other pertinent information.
The images produced by the Gamaya built drones can be analyzed using Artificial Intelligence algorithms to inform farmers about impeding outcomes and problems. The fast growing startup was spun out of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Elsewhere, the Swiss post office is also testing the effectiveness of drones in delivering mail. Part of the reason why Switzerland has had a head start in the use of agricultural drones stems from its open legal framework and progressive drone regulations. However, the use of drones in agricultural surveys has become widespread in recent years. In the US, firms such as Airware and PrecisionHawk are at the forefront of developing drones that combine imaging and analytics. In November 2015, The Verge magazine reported that another commercial drone’s manufacturer, Dji had come up with an agricultural drone specially built to spray crops.
The drone named Agras is said to be highly efficient in its operations compared to manually spraying crops. The drone uses microwave radar that allows ground scanning and safe release of liquid. The Agras as it is known can modulate its spray to ensure even coverage and run at speeds of up to 8 meters per second. The drone is water resistant and is built using dustproofing and anti-corrosive components. A report obtained by The Verge magazine, indicates that Agras was first launched in China and Korea before launching in other international markets. The drone will retail at a price of $15,000. The other US companies that are working on drone solutions, include Google through its Project Wing initiative and Amazon through Prime Air.