19 Feb
Unmanned Warriors to the Rescue in California Vineyards Unmanned Warriors to the Rescue in California Vineyards

Unmanned Warriors to the Rescue in California Vineyards

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How to manage the growing of crops that require a lot of water -- in a state that's been subject to a severe drought, no less?

Send in the drones. Especially when the crops in question include grapes used in the making of one of California's most popular products, wine.

Hahn Vineyards, located in Soledad, CA, has partnered with Verizon and PrecisionHawk to keep a bird's eye view on its vineyards. The agricultural drones, which weight about five pounds apiece, periodically fly over the crops, taking measurements about such factors as canopy growth, reports PSFK. The Intel-made sensors in the crafts pick up readings on humidity and temperature. This data is then used in conjunction with soil moisture managers, which check out the levels of water at various depths in the ground. This, in turn, guides flow meters in doling out the amounts of water needed for this or that plot of farmland. Other factors, such as humidity, wind speed and direction, and photosynthetic radiation are also collected.

“All of that data goes into the platform, which runs it against our analytics engine, which looks for patterns and anomalies to make recommendations,” explains the head of Verizon’s IoT (Internet of Things) Connected Solutions division.

Verizon's chief data scientist adds, “If you look at crop farming over thousands of years, people have tried to understand what makes the best grapes. The IoT platform we’re building allows us to understand data and information at multiple scales.”

PSFK's report notes that Verizon projects that its solution will boost yields by 10%, while cutting down on water and spraying by nearly a third.

That adds up to a considerable revenue savings for crop growers.


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Read 1186 times Last modified on Tuesday, 09 February 2016 11:11
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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