Raven Industries, along with newly acquired technology innovator Augmenta, based in Athens, Greece, are bringing new lines of "Sense & Act" camera imaging and artificial intelligence technologies to a 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 to control application rates based on factors like canopy health.
Augmenta brings a couple of capabilities to the field, Eric Shuman, Raven general manager, tells 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."
VRA is a flexible aftermarket machinery application. 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 says. "We do feel that what we've seen in our base studies, most customers are going to see a less-than-one-year payback."
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