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ClearSky Vision uses AI to let satellites look under clouds

The Danish start-up ClearSky Vision has won the BayWa Smart Farming Challenge 2020. The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) to look “under” clouds, in order to make better use of satellite imagery.

One of the main obstacles in satellite-based remote sensing is the presence of clouds, which limits the usefulness of satellite imagery. ClearSky Vision’s innovation has the potential to give the use of satellite data a major boost, according to the BayWa Smart Farming Challenge jury. The panel of judges was made up of experts from BayWa AG and its Group companies FarmFacts GmbH and Vista GmbH.

Fertilise and irrigate with help of satellite data

“Satellite data is already performing a valuable service for modern agriculture today, with our customers using it to fertilise and water specific fields or plant flower strips,” says BayWa Chief Development Officer Jörg Migende, who oversees the company’s development business in its agricultural and agricultural equipment divisions.

“For a solution to gain acceptance among the largest possible group of users, however, it has to be user-friendly and accessible for all. AI can be very helpful here, as the innovation from this year’s winner shows.”

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Morten Fjord Pedersem (left) and Malthe Dahl Jensen, both founder and CEO of ClearSky Vision. - Photo: BayWa
Morten Fjord Pedersem (left) and Malthe Dahl Jensen, both founder and CEO of ClearSky Vision. - Photo: BayWa

Cloud simulations

Since most satellite images can only be used when taken in cloudless conditions, there are long periods throughout a year in which no data is available. ClearSky Vision’s solution unlocks this previously difficult-to-leverage potential. Based on cloud simulations using originally cloud-free satellite images, the Danish company has trained its AI to forecast a variety of parameters regardless of the weather.

BayWa Smart Farming Challenge

The BayWa Smart Farming Challenge is one of nine partner categories and 13 regional prizes in the international Copernicus Masters competition this year. Launched in 2011 by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen, the annual competition works with partner companies to promote the development and deployment of business ideas for the civil use of satellite data.

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