SOLAR3 offers farmers, agronomists, and other agriculture experts actionable information about their fields and plants. Based on crop models of a crop’s full growth cycle, the resulting web- and cloud-based system shows farmers areas of biotic (e.g. pests, diseases, weeds, etc.) and abiotic (e.g. temperature, drought, flood, etc.) stresses and quantifies the intensity. The system utilises hyperspectral imagery taken by a small, lightweight, and data-efficient hyperspectral camera mounted on a long-endurance, solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to provide updated information about the fields. The crop models are created using machine learning algorithms on these and other data.
SOLAR3 started in December 2016 and is a collaboration between GAMAYA and ETH Zürich. It is currently in the user and systems requirements gathering phase. A pilot project is being planned for the 2017 growing season to develop the crop models. Simultaneously, 2017 will see the design and assembly of the solar-powered drone and the next-generation hyperspectral camera. In 2018 the next-gen hyperspectral camera will fly on the solar-powered drone, becoming the system’s primary data collection platform.