Digital vineyard of the future features drone data collection

By Patrick C. Miller | October 29, 2018

If a recent demonstration in Canada is any indication, the digital vineyard of the future might very well receive scientific data in real-time gathered by drones and transferred via a cell network.

Global UAV Technologies Ltd., Jöst Vineyards, VineView (Scientific Aerial Imaging Inc.) and a major Canadian telecommunications company recently completed a 4G proof-of-concept mission in in Malagash, Nova Scotia, to demonstrate a real-word application of drone technology for a project called the “Digital Vineyard of the Future.”

“Fine wine making is in the growing of grapes with specific qualities, where many variables have to be taken into consideration,” said Jonathan Rodwell, director of viticulture and winemaking for Jöst Vineyards. “We see these emerging technologies offering excellent opportunities for integrated measurement and management of our vineyards and focus on precision viticulture.”

Global UAV provided a 4G-enabled, Procyon 800E helicopter drone platform with a specialized multi-spectral imaging payload. The company also provided pilots and engineering support for the project. The drone was designed, engineered and manufactured by NOVAerial Robotics Inc., a subsidiary of Global UAV. A key aspect of the survey mission was to demonstrate drone-enabled, real-time data transfer capabilities over the 4G cellular network.

Global UAV worked with VineView and the telecommunications partner to integrate the 4G technology onto the Procyon 800E UAV platform, fly the survey and transfer the data over the 4G network in real-time during flight. VineView post-processed and interpreted the multi-spectral imagery and produced diagnostic maps used by Jöst Vineyards for crop uniformity optimization, irrigation management, harvest planning and plant health information.

“This is a pivotal opportunity for Global UAV and emphasizes the broad exposure to major telecom partners that our innovation and 4G technology development efforts have landed,” said Michael Burns, Global UAV CEO. “The application of this technology demonstrates Global UAV’s ability to deploy ‘real world’ solutions that can extend and accelerate our business opportunities.”

VineView is a provider of crop diagnostics for vineyards, working with some of the world’s top wine brands. It has more than 15 years of industry experience in custom data solutions that assist in crop uniformity optimization, irrigation management, harvest planning and disease mapping.

Jöst Vineyards—the longest-operating and largest winery in Nova Scotia—is part of the Devonian Coast Wineries group. It produces distinctive wines and styles that have won hundreds of national and international awards.