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Skippy Scout app now analyses crop images

A more sophisticated version of the Skippy Scout drone control mobile device app has been released with the ability to analyse, not just collect, crop images.

New artificial intelligence in version 2.5 of the software is designed to interpret what the scouting images reveal, adding value to the automatic crop scouting process.

Jack Wrangham, founder of UK-based Drone Ag, said: “Automated analysis of drone imagery can detect the percentage of weeds in a healthy crop and count the number of crop plants per square metre.The app can also detect foliar disease and is capable of interpreting holes in leaves to highlight insect damage.”

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Skippy Scout provides automatic control of a crop scouting drone. - Photo: Drone Ag
Skippy Scout provides automatic control of a crop scouting drone. - Photo: Drone Ag

Skippy Scout on a cell phone

Growers and agronomists can use Skippy Scout on a cell phone to automate the work planning and operation of a drone used to take high-resolution, leaf level images to help detect disease, pests and weeds.

Inspection points are selected on field maps imported to the phone, the app then flies the drone to each point where images are taken and sent to the phone in real time.

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The new AI element offers analysis of the images taken by the drone. - Photo: Drone Ag
The new AI element offers analysis of the images taken by the drone. - Photo: Drone Ag

Satellite data

A recent partnership with remote imaging service SpaceSense provides satellite data to help users decide where and when to monitor crops based on Green Area Index (GAI), weed detection, leaf formation and soil moisture.

“Satellite data is fed to the app up to three times a week and appears on the user’s phone as a layer of information,” explains Mr Wrangham. “Users can import their own maps, giving each a name so that year-on-year data can be compiled and compared; the AI in Skippy can take all this information to offer analysis and advice.”

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A partnership with SpaceSense provides satellite imagery to help growers decide where and when to inspect their crops. - Photo: Drone Ag
A partnership with SpaceSense provides satellite imagery to help growers decide where and when to inspect their crops. - Photo: Drone Ag

PDF reports

Skippy Scout can now count plants, measure healthy crop cover compared to weed cover, report on damaged crops and highlight insect damage. All data is subsequently presented in PDF reports that are automatically created by the app.

Jack Wrangham says the reports have been designed to be easily understood and can be saved for future benchmarking and comparison.

“Our aim has always been to make this technology easy to use and accessible for all; with a monthly fee of £30 (€ 33) for a single farmer and drone prices below £400 (€ 447), we hope more farmers will adopt this technology to save time crop scouting.”

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