Sony is taking its expertise in sensing and processing technology and applying it to the agriculture business with the introduction of its Smart Agriculture Solution. The new solution allows for daily crop management and monitoring through the capture, collection, and analyzation of data in the field. It enables in-the-field operation without a network connection, unlike conventional networked methods.
These additional insights will offer growers the ability to easily oversee and manage the progress of their crops, allowing them to observe the growth and health, and make decisions and take actions on the spot to increase productivity and efficiency, thereby saving time and reducing costs.
Sony’s new Smart Agriculture Solution employs sensor fusion and fast stitching technology, consisting of a newly developed drone-mounted multispectral sensing unit and Fast Field Analyzer image analysis software. The multispectral sensing unit carries a dual sensor camera unit and an accurate geolocation sensing unit. It can be mounted on a drone to capture normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and RGB imagery in a single flight.
During a flight, this sensing unit obtains highly accurate geolocation, altitude and posture information leveraged by Sony’s unique algorithm and real-time processor, while synching up geo data with every photo it captures. This allows users to generate maps with Fast Field Analyzer by stitching captured data using only geolocation data. It requires less overlapped images, and consequently, it increases a single flight’s efficiency with a wider coverage area, enabling drones to gather 300-400 images covering a maximum range of 160 acres. All the processes are conducted in a completely offline environment that does not use time consuming cloud processing so that users can take immediate action in the field with accurate analysis results.
Highlights of the two elements include:
Sony’s multispectral sensing unit (MSZ-2100G)
- Built-in dual sensor (RGB/NDVI)
- RGB : 2 inch / pixel @ 400ft flight
- NDVI : 4.6 inch / pixel @ 400ft flight
- Accurate geotagged image capture
- Data capture to micro SD card
Sony’s Fast Field Analyzer image analysis software (FFA-PCW)
- Fast flight data quality validation before processing
- Fast stitching for generating NDVI / RGB map
- Multiple battery flight data import with a single operation
- Easy to use graphical assessment tools for in-field decision making
- Location point export for streamlined ground truthing operation
During its development, Sony carried out a number of field investigation programs with industry partners to firmly grasp market issues and needs, including with Syngenta, a leading agriculture company that combines technology and research to improve crop insights and outcomes. Syngenta selected Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution as a part of its comprehensive digital agriculture service. Sony and Syngenta work closely together to provide compatibility between Sony’s Smart Agriculture Solution and Syngenta’s satellite imaging software for end-users’ convenience.
“We are pleased to be able to offer an end-to-end solution leveraging our compelling technology to meet the needs of the agriculture industry by increasing efficiency and productivity,” said Bruce Tanaka, general manager of New Segment Department, Professional Products & Solutions Group, Sony Imaging Products & Solutions Inc. “We will continue to further enhance this solution by working closely with partners like Syngenta with their industry knowledge and experience, as well as end users.”
“This offering furthers our ability to provide meaningful, implementable information to growers,” said Dan Burdett, global head of digital agriculture, Syngenta. “During this exciting and active time in digital agriculture, we remain focused on delivering value to growers by providing tools that will help them be successful. We are pleased to be working with Sony, a global technology leader that shares our commitment to innovation, cross-industry collaboration and sustainability.”
The new Smart Agriculture Solution is planned to be available in spring 2019 in the US and Canada.