New funding for development drone for crop monitoring

15-04-2021    14:49   |    Goedemorgen

Corvus Drones, located in Ede (the Netherlands), develops a fully automatic flying drone that can monitor crops and collect data in the greenhouse horticulture sector. To further develop its technology, Corvus Drones receives funding from Innovatiefonds ION+, an innovation fund for SMEs in the province of Gelderland. With this funding, Corvus Drones can make its technology applicable to any crop in the Netherlands and abroad.

Robotisation in greenhouse horticulture sector improves sustainable food production

''The goal of our innovative drone is to support greenhouse growers in seedling counting, germination and growth monitoring, crop forecasting, and prevention and control of diseases and pests,'' explains Frans-Peter Dechering, co-founder of Corvus Drones. "There is great demand for data in greenhouses. As a grower or cultivator, it is an almost impossible task to count and analyse sprouts on a daily basis. Hence, it is often done on a random basis nowadays. A drone flying through the greenhouses can collect data from above very easily," Dechering says.

Sustainable food production

Corvus Drones creates social return with its technology through sustainable production of healthy food. While the drone flies independently across the greenhouse, it takes pictures of the sprouts or young plants with a special camera. Dechering explains: “In less than half an hour, the drone can monitor a 5,000 m2 greenhouse full of plants. The images are analysed by artificial intelligence-software. In this way, the drone provides highly accurate measurements in a short period of time.”

This increase in information on the (sprouting) plants results in a more efficient growth process at lower costs. A relevant innovation, Dechering says: “We would like to contribute to more sustainable food production, but this transition increases the demand for labour. At the same time the global need for food is increasing as well. Hence, in order to produce food in an efficient and sustainable manner, robotisation is essential. With our drone, we have the instrument to do so at hand.”

Funding for innovation

The funding to Corvus Drones was provided by ION+. Oost NL is fund manager and grants funding to SMEs in the riskiest innovation phase, located in the province of Gelderland. Corvus Drones uses ION+’s financing to further improve its technology. “We want to make our technology widely applicable, both in the Netherlands and abroad. Therefore, money is needed and the financial boost from ION+ helps us herein. Accordingly, we can complete our pre-seed round, which is an important milestone,” Dechering explains.

Lise van den Bosch, investment manager Food at Oost NL: “Producing enough food for a growing world population is a great social challenge. With its innovative technology, Corvus Drones holds a solution in its hands. There is a great demand for this solution, which makes the product commercially interesting. It is nice to see that Oost NL can make a positive contribution in this respect.’’

ION+ is an innovation fund for SMEs in Gelderland and is financed by a contribution from the European subsidy programme OP-Oost and is co-financed by the Province of Gelderland.

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