By Betsy Lillian

Sony has launched a new crop management solution consisting of a newly developed drone-mounted multispectral sensing unit and Fast Field Analyzer image analysis software.

Sony says it is taking its expertise in sensing and processing technology and applying it to the agriculture business with the introduction of the Smart Agriculture Solution. According to Sony, the new solution allows for daily crop management and monitoring through the capture, collection and analysis of data in the field. Further, it enables in-the-field operation without a network connection.

These additional insights will offer growers the ability to easily oversee and manage the progress of their crops – allowing them to observe the growth and health – and make decisions and take actions on the spot.

The drone-mounted multispectral sensing unit carries a dual-sensor camera unit and a geolocation sensing unit. It can be mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle to capture NDVI and RGB imagery in a single flight.

During a flight, this sensing unit obtains geolocation, altitude and posture information, leveraged by Sony’s algorithm and real-time processor, while syncing up geodata with every photo it captures. This allows users to generate maps with the Fast Field Analyzer by stitching captured data using only geolocation data. According to Sony, it requires fewer overlapped images, and consequently, it increases a single flight’s efficiency with a wider coverage area, enabling drones to gather 300-400 images covering a maximum range of 160 acres.

Further, all the processes are conducted in a completely offline environment that does not use cloud processing so that users can take immediate action in the field.

During its development, Sony carried out a number of field investigation programs with industry partners, including agrochemical company Syngenta, which selected Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution as a part of its comprehensive digital agriculture service.

“This offering furthers our ability to provide meaningful, implementable information to growers,” says Dan Burdett, global head of digital agriculture at Syngenta. “During this exciting and active time in digital agriculture, we remain focused on delivering value to growers by providing tools that will help them be successful.”

“We are pleased to be able to offer an end-to-end solution leveraging our compelling technology to meet the needs of the agriculture industry by increasing efficiency and productivity,” states Bruce Tanaka, general manager of the new segment department for the professional products and solutions group at Sony Imaging Products & Solutions Inc. “We will continue to further enhance this solution by working closely with partners like Syngenta with their industry knowledge and experience, as well as end-users.”

The new Smart Agriculture Solution is planned for launch this spring in the U.S. and Canada.