Drones collect valuable data so farmers can detect pests and disease

A Cape Town-based startup has analysed 10 million trees for pest and diseases using drones and satellite data.

Aerial-data analytics company Aerobotics announced the milestone at the AfricaCom event at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Wednesday.

One million of the trees were analysed in just five days before the event.

“This is not just a major milestone for our company because of the massive number of trees we have processed, but also for the agriculture industry, as we are better positioned to help tree and vine farmers around the world,” Aerobotics chief finance officer Tim Willis said.

Aerobotics processes data from drone and satellite imagery through its proprietary artificial intelligence software to discover and analyse problems such as pests and diseases affecting individual trees or vines on a farm.

The software also measures size, height and canopy volume.

This information, displayed on the Aerobotics website and mobile apps, provides data for farmers so they can make better decisions about their crops.

“Whether it is the early detection of varying vigour on wine farms, thrips [a type of insect] on citrus farms or anything in between, farmers can mitigate damage to their crop earlier than they would have with just the naked eye,” Willis said.

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