Farming in the sky

Farming in the sky

How Flyver is bringing agriculture to new heights

There’s not a field that’s too vast for them, nor a detail too small. They’re autonomous, precise, connected to the cloud and they’ll cover 2,500 hectares in less than 90 minutes. Say hello to the future of agriculture.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — better known as drones— are farmers’ new little helpers. They operate at a hundred feet above the ground, thrive on batteries and eat data for breakfast. With Flyver, the Bulgarian drone software company, the airborne revolution is hitting the European farming market and bringing agriculture to the 21st century. Who said the sky was the limit?

No more guessing what’s wrong

Whether we’re talking about ailing plants, weeds, pests, intrusions or soil degradation, it all comes down to knowing exactly what’s going on, where it’s happening and what to do about it. For many farmers this often means strapping on boots for a muddy hike through the crops – with no guarantee of actually finding anything early enough to fix it. Monitoring huge areas of crops can become a mind-boggling challenge with traditional land-operated machinery.

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With Flyver’s drones and cloud applications, it becomes a lot easier, time efficient and cost-friendly to keep track of thousands of hectares of land. Airborne sensors provide a new perspective in terms of crop monitoring, topographic mapping and security, enabling farmers to keep track of their operations and improve their productivity.  

“No pilots, no technicians, no remote controls. One click and you are airborne.”

-Tihomir Nedev, co-founder of Flyver

 

Founded in 2013, Flyver offers cloud powered aerial surveillance. “Our drones are fully automatic and don’t require any specific license or operator. The system is powered by Azure and we use cell phone networks as streaming servers. That’s basically unlimited range. In other words, no pilots, no technicians, no remote controls. One click and you are airborne,” explains Tihomir Nedev, co-founder of Flyver.

Farmers can plan their flight missions straight from the cloud, assign them to drone operators and monitor their execution from the comfort of their computer, anywhere in the world.

As easy as it gets

At the tip of a finger, farmers get access to real-time data from the field, high quality footage and total control over flight plans. Any video that is captured by the drone is instantly streamed through Azure in real time and stored on the cloud for later use. “With our solutions, farmers save time, money and efforts in protecting their field,” explains Nedev. Whatever is happening out there in the crops, drones will track it, spot it, report it and save it.

“Before moving to Azure, we used to run our solutions on a server that just couldn’t handle our usage. With Azure, we’re saving a lot of time, and it will let us scale as we grow.”

– Tihomir Nedev, co-founder of Flyver

Flyver uses advanced powerful fixed-wing and multirotor UAVs to perform missions. The drones can easily be customized to meet the customer’s specific needs. Precision, duration or streaming quality can be enhanced, as well as the type of sensors and equipment on board. Flyver is a Software as a Service (SaaS), which means that it doesn’t require any setup, and it runs directly from Azure.

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European farming goes digital

Traditional farming as we know it is undergoing a smart revolution. The use of drones is just one example among many of the way agriculture is transforming digitally. With more and more farmers looking to ways to sustainably cut costs, boost yields and protect their lands, modern technology, such as IoT, cloud and big data is making its way to the hinterlands.

With the global population expected to hit 9.6 billion people by 2050, experts predict that we will need to produce more food in the next 40 years than we have done in the last 1,200 years combined. Fortunately, digital technology offers significant opportunities to improve the agricultural landscape.

“Agriculture is becoming incredibly tech-savvy and attracting more and more skilled IT profiles. This means increasingly more opportunities for tech and drone start-ups to explore.”

– Tihomir Nedev, co-founder of Flyver

Technology is helping farmers become “smart farmers”, and for Mark Torr, Senior Product Marketing Manager – IoT & Advanced Anaytics at Microsoft, it’s all about enabling farmers to achieve more. “At a time when price pressure is high, data and technology can be used to improve and optimize farm operations, improve crop yields, minimize environmental impacts and in doing so improve the bottom line and top line for farms. At Microsoft, we believe that technology can help empower every farm, farmer or player in the agriculture lifecycle to achieve more and drive lower costs and higher margins,” explains Torr.

From German connected cows, to Swiss digitally transformed farms, UK subterranean farming and Bulgarian drones, there’s no limit to how far and smart European agriculture can get.

Find out more about Flyver here, and read more about IoT and how data is coming together in new ways here.