In spring 2022, Corvus Drones introduced fully automated greenhouse drones for young plant producers and breeders. Operating greenhouse drones is easy and can be done from one's office. Docking stations for automatic recharging and data upload are the ingredients to make the loop from data collection to reporting fully automated.
"The new lettuce application is being developed and tested in several lettuce types like butter lettuce, Lollo Bionda, and green oak lettuce. Other varieties will follow soon," says Frans-Peter Dechering, founder and CCO of Corvus Drones. "The application includes multiple features. Hydroponic gutters can suffer from misalignment and get no irrigation. This results in wilting plants and less yield. The drone detects the misalignment, and the grower gets an alert with the greenhouse section to check. This saves hundreds of hours of manual inspection per hectare per year."
Growth and size monitoring is the feature to predict yield and adjust crop planning. The software, developed by Corvus Drones Computer Vision partner Track32, does drone image processing and gives an accurate figure about the leaf area development and actual size during the last crop phase. Optional are weight estimate and yield prediction. "This urges co-work with the grower to make the information variety specific during the season," he points out.
Frans also points out how crucial it is for growers to detect pests and diseases before an outbreak erupts. "The Corvus Drones, in combination with Track32's smart image analysis software, are able to detect many crop issues and plant anomalies," he remarks. "Leaf color deviation is a signal of beginning diseases like mildew, botrytis, or physiological abnormalities due to the greenhouse climate. Missing plants, caterpillars, and some aphid species can also be detected."
The drone crop monitoring and detections are reportedly fully automatic. "Optional is integration in greenhouse management or ERP systems. The Drone as a Service (DaaS) helps growers to focus on crop management information. Corvus Drones is fully responsible for the technical maintenance and updates."
At the Greentech Amsterdam (June 13-15, booth 05.413), the Corvus Lettuce application will be launched, and live drone demos can be experienced.