Raven, Augmenta Launch New Crop Tech

Raven, Augmenta Announce Real-Time Crop Health Tool

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Augmenta's variable-rate application solution uses a real-time sensor to process field conditions and automatically apply the optimal amount of product. (Photo courtesy of Raven)

Raven Industries, along with newly acquired technology innovator Augmenta, with operations in Greece and the United States, are bringing new lines of "Sense & Act" camera imaging and artificial intelligence technologies to a wide variety of crop spraying operations.

Sense & Act refers to technologies that both detect a specific crop health issue in the field and address it in real time.

Augmenta's variable-rate application (VRA) technology uses a multispectral camera to analyze real-time field conditions and apply where needed products such as nitrogen, plant growth regulators, harvest aids (defoliants and desiccants) and fungicides. VRA uses camera visioning and artificial intelligence capabilities more sensitive than the human eye to control application rates, based on factors like canopy health. Cost savings are visible on a web-based analytics and monitoring platform, Raven explained in a release. VRA-generated data are also retained for future analysis, to inform future field management adjustments and practices.

Augmenta brings a couple of capabilities to the field, Eric Shuman, Raven general manager, told DTN/Progressive Farmer. "There's the hardware component, which is a multispectral camera. But the real power behind it is Augmenta's artificial intelligence (technology) and algorithms. It gives us the capability to scan and interpret what the crop health is out in front of that machine. And we tie that into our application controls ... we can hit just those areas that need help."

It's a process done in real time, computing and processing in a single pass, no preloaded prescriptions at 12 miles per hour or better, Shuman said. "This technology builds our autonomy and automation portfolio in the sense-and-act space, building on great application controls that we have inside Raven (such as Hawkeye 2 Nozzle Control)."

VRA is a flexible after-market, machinery application. Raven says a single piece of hardware, the camera, is installed onto a single point on top of a cab roof and scans the full width of the boom. It can be mounted to multiple brands of equipment, whether it be a sprayer or a tractor pulling an application implement. "This is a simple solution," Shuman said. "We do feel that what we've seen in our base studies, most customers are going to see a less-than-one-year payback."

Augmenta has been purchased by CNH Industrial, Raven's parent company (also the parent company of Case IH and New Holland). The Athens-based company will become part of Raven but will retain its operations in Greece and the U.S. Existing Augmenta technologies will be commercially available through Raven's aftermarket channels. Raven will develop and fully integrate Augmenta's products into its broader portfolio.

Dan Miller can be reached at dan.miller@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @DMillerPF

Dan Miller