Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) signed an agreement with Santos Lab Comercio E Industria Aerospacial LTDA, (Santos Lab) on use of UAVs and advanced analytics for large-scale precision agricultural applications.
Under the agreement, IAI will provide BirdEye 650D UAV systems and analyze the collected data. Santos Lab will operate the UAVs, including its hyper-spectral wide coverage imager, a unique development made by IAI to pursue the precision agriculture market. It will be used for generating reports on these large-scale farming areas according to a broad range of parameters.
The agreement is expected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming decade.
The BirdEye 650D will perform agricultural missions covering large areas utilizing beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) capabilities. Typical tasks include monitoring various crops such as soy and sugar cane as well as commercial forestry. The reports will include accurate analysis of the crops and soil condition. The data will be available for customers through a dedicated cloud solution, including high-precision analytics that would not have been possible without the hyper-spectral technology, which allows identifying crops’ condition from high altitude at high resolution and accuracy. The service is expected to become operational at the end of 2019.
Moshe Levy, IAI EVP and general manager of its Military Aircraft Group, said, “IAI has over 40 years’ experience with UAV’s, mainly for military applications. Utilizing our systems for agricultural applications is a good example of how we look to commercialize our knowhow to broaden our offering. IAI offers the capability to combine military technologies with commercial applications on top of IAI’s unique ability to fly UAV’s in the civilian airspace. I welcome the collaboration with Santos Lab, which is bound to open additional opportunities for us.”
Gabriel Klabin, CEO at Santos Lab, said, “The cooperation between a technological company such as IAI and Santos Lab is bringing to Brazil’s agro market a tool capable of changing the essential ways of monitoring the agricultural development. This system will allow farmers to make conscious decisions on how to better manage their crops in the most efficient manner, introducing precision agriculture in a large industrial scale throughout Brazilian fields. The use of this technology can positively impact the whole cycle of food production and consumption, even enabling people to eat at better costs, and this is just the beginning.”