TerrAvion Helps Farmers Grow Crops

In the agriculture industry nowadays, technology plays a great role. Specifically, aviation technology is highly useful for farmers as it can empower them to make the right decisions regarding crop management. TerrAvion is one such company that help farmers in the California region grow their crops, providing them with expert service at reasonable low cost.

Company Profile
TerrAvion is a relatively new technology company formed by Carnegie Mellon alumni, and is located in Livermore, California. Its team is composed of founders Cornell Wright, Chief Technology Officer, and Robert Morris, Chief Executive Officer, and Dr. Michael Whiting, Ph.D., is the company’s Remote Sensing Scientist. Together they work with their business partners to make flying robots work in the field of agriculture.

What They Do
TerrAvion specializes in aviation technology used mainly in the field of agriculture, making aerial robots work for farmers. They use manned aircraft to collect imagery that are then delivered to clients via the OverView web portal. The Overview is Terravion’s special product by which the company provides imagery for their clients, in bands and indices relevant to making agricultural decisions. They also provide color and near-infrared data at a resolution that is sufficient to see each vine in a vineyard.

What Makes Them Valuable
With the aviation technology they use, TerrAvion helps farmers manage their crops, as it allows them to monitor problems with their crops early on for instance, and this helps farmers grow their farms more profitably. The company has geared its OverView image and data-providing system specifically to target these small-scale farmers at much lower cost. The cameras TerrAvion uses on its planes take traditional color pictures and infrared photos. Based on this information, the company then creates a Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) image that makes it easier for farmers to judge how their crops are progressing. In addition, they are provided with thermal imaging and oblique shots, which can often add useful information. As of now, the company uses unmanned aircraft, not drones, in light of the still pending official regulation on the use of drones.

Loyal customers say they realized savings in other areas such as reductions in water and energy use, improved equipment utilization in the field, and smoother processing of the harvest. With Overview, farmers can have more control as well. For example, it lets them see how far the contractor who is disking has progressed without having to go check the outlying blocks in person.

TerrAvion covers California’s agricultural and urban region, a drought-prone area, thus rendering the company’s work invaluable to farmers there.

TerrAvion’s flagship OverView service, initially targeted at California vineyards, uses light planes flying at altitudes of 5,000 feet to capture images every week. That data — coupled with information from sensors or other technologies that farmers or vineyard managers might be using to track soil quality or moisture levels — can be used to guide decisions about irrigation or deficit pruning. its value lies in providing access to the image information regularly and offering “hints” about areas that might require attention. “Humans are not bad at solving these problems, but humans are expensive and sort of slow,” Morris joked.  See more here

Thus, with TerrAvion, farmers can make better decisions, make their farms more profitable, improve their outcomes and have better control, and all these spell peace of mind, even in times of drought or other bad weather conditions.



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