VINEVIEW AND SKYSQUIRREL DEBUT DRONE AT ROOTSTOCK
Joint venture to display specialized drone
St. Helena, Napa Valley and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, November 2014 ---- VineView-SAI, Inc., a St. Helena-based remote sensing company established in 1999, is partnering with SkySquirrel Technologies Inc. (SST), a commercial Unmanned Aerial System (drone) company based in Nova Scotia, Canada. VineView and SkySquirrel will be displaying their Aqweo (*) agricultural drone at The Concept Bar at Rootstock, the Napa Valley Grape Growers’ trade exhibition taking place on November 13, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at the Napa Exposition Fairgrounds (575 Third Street, Napa 94558). More information at www.skysquirrel.ca/vineview.
VineView is contributing its 15 years of experience in remote sensing of vineyards and other high value crops to the development of a fully integrated drone system for high resolution imaging of vineyards, citrus and nut crops. “Partnering with SST allows us to bring the technologies we’ve developed to new markets as well as provide additional options for our current customers,” said Matt Staid, Ph.D., President of VineView. “Canada has been a leader in supporting the commercial use and testing of unmanned aircraft, allowing us to start using this new platform sooner than would otherwise be possible.”
SST has been developing and testing its robust, portable, commercial drone system for the past 2 1/2 years. “What we see missing in the current drone marketplace is a commercial-grade UAS delivering a turn-key aerial imaging solution for growers,” said SST CEO and co-founder, Tim Stekkinger. Other manufacturers are focusing on the drone itself, whereas the Aqweo delivers a complete GPS-guided system, including customized onboard imaging equipment which allows for crop-specific imaging. “This breakthrough product will allow the user to collect accurate, consistent measurements of crop conditions and upload them to a cloud environment for automatic data processing. The resulting maps will go far beyond basic vigor mapping and can be viewed in the field from a tablet device,” explains Stekkinger. “The partnership with VineView allows us to offer calibrated aerial imaging data, which is of much higher quality than anything on the market today.”
The system will become available in Europe, Canada and South America early next year; availability in the U.S. depends on FAA restrictions currently under review.
Based in St. Helena, VineView has been providing remote sensing services to the wine-grape industry in California, Oregon and Washington since 2002. VineView uses state of the art equipment and image processing techniques to deliver high-quality imaging products from multispectral and hyperspectral systems. In addition to calibrated vigor maps and infrared images, VineView also offers RedleafMap™ (leafroll and redblotch mapping) and has developed H2OstressMap (water stress mapping). Aerial images are a valuable tool for many aspects of vineyard management and can help growers improve grape quality, identify disease, save time and resources and reduce the environmental impacts of farming. More information at www.vineview.com.
Based in Nova Scotia, SkySquirrel Technologies Inc. develops drone-based technology for monitoring crop health, with a primary focus on improving crop yields and reducing costs at commercial vineyards. It offers an effective way to optimize agricultural inspection and field monitoring operations. The company was founded in May 2012. Based in Canada, it also has a presence in Switzerland and California. More at www.skysquirrel.ca.
*Aqweo: Not an acronym, this is the proprietary name for this new drone.