Not too long ago, SLANTRANGE debuted a unique solution for agriculture that allowed users to take advantage of new types of crop information for more efficient use of farming resources and greater control and predictability of outputs. Helping farmers properly utilize info data gathered by a drone has been one of the biggest challenges for of all types and sizes, and it’s why SLANTRANGE’s new 3p multispectral sensor system for agriculture drones is such a big deal.

The 3p is built on the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone platform, which is a highly optimized platform for drones and robotics applications. The 3p takes advantage of Snapdragon Flight to provide quantitative metrics about the status, health, and yield potential of crops immediately after a drone flight, and that’s an especially important feature for farmers who often struggle when trying to transition raw data into information that influences their decisions.

“While the ability to integrate various sources of farm data, including drone imagery, is improving, we still often hear that this can be a cumbersome process,” said Michael Ritter, CEO of SLANTRANGE. “The hassle of proprietary data formats and complex interfaces can often be enough for growers and agronomists to decide that using drone imagery is simply not worth the effort. Our data has the most value when combined with other data sources such as soil samples, irrigation data, and weather data so we've always focused on data compatibility at SLANTRANGE, and the 3p continues this effort.”

deployUltimately, what matters on the farm is being able to appropriately feed data that is gathered by a drone or any other device into as many tools and platforms as possible, and the previously announced SLANTRANGE partnership with DroneDeploy directly speaks to that issue. Customers can now use DroneDeploy for flight planning with SLANTRANGE sensors, use SLANTRANGE for data collection and in-field processing, and then seamlessly upload completed maps to DroneDeploy for simple sharing, syncing, archiving and follow on analyses.

The process to share and analyze information can often create bottlenecks on the farm though, especially in rural and remote areas, where so many farms reside. The fact that the 3p has no dependence on high-bandwidth network infrastructure or large-scale computing power could be a game-changer for growers, agronomists, and drone service providers who want to be able to properly leverage high-value crop information immediately.

“Traditional approaches to processing, stitching, and analyzing the gigabytes of high-resolution data generated during a typical drone flight require fairly high-power computing resources,” Ritter mentioned. “However, these approaches are also dependent on reliable and high-speed network access for uploading the raw data. Many of the rural and remote areas where much of the world’s agriculture land is located, do not have this kind of network infrastructure and these cloud-based models are simply not an option.”

remoteThe SLANTRANGE analytics solution requires far less computing horsepower and with the 3p, they’ve moved this computing engine onto the sensor itself. With this architecture, their customers can generate high-value data products immediately in the field and then leverage the power of cloud-based tools when a network connection is available. Their systems are not dependent on cloud computing, which is crucial so users can scale their operations.

The fact that this tool provides a scalable platform for growth and expansion for farmers is a critical development. How will that process play out on a micro and macro level though?

“On a micro level, the extensive processing power of the 3p, provided by the Snapdragon Flight, will enable us to push an increasing amount of analytics capability into the sensor,” Ritter said. “For farmers and agronomists using the system, this means that the value and the utility of the tool will increase over time, similar to an operating system update for your mobile phone. On a macro level, the sensor architecture of the 3p will allow us to leverage new technologies as they become available.”

As a quick example, 5G wireless networks could enable rapid data transfers for instant communication with other farm-based sensors, machinery, or analytics platforms. Drones built on the Snapdragon Flight platform could also utilize on-board analytics to provide a tightly integrated turnkey system for agriculture applications. These systems have countless applications, and the ability to grow and expand this platform has and will open up plenty more opportunities.

Every grower, scout, and agronomist has unique problems to solve based on their crops, region, management practices, and many other factors. This new suite of processing and export options will allow SLANTRANGE customers to use their data however and whenever they need it.