This technology helps farmers in controlling their crops -From Space
By 3 Min Read

Farmers have been wandering around the fields and examining their crops for millennia to keep an eye on the health of their potatoes, pumpkins, or pineapples. As you can expect, this procedure takes a long time and is frequently imprecise, especially when applied to big regions.

Constellr, a German deep tech firm, thinks there must be a better approach. Constellr, a spin-off from Europe’s largest applied research organization, the Fraunhofer, is creating a satellite-based crop monitoring system that serves as a farmer’s eyes in the sky. Constellr recently secured €17 million in initial investment to grow the system up.

The startup’s technology consists of constellations of microsatellites that are outfitted with thermal infrared and hyperspectral imaging devices, which it claims to be a first in the world. These collect information on the daily global land surface temperature.

In 2022, Constellr conducted a test flight of its first thermal imaging sensors aboard the International Space Station. Constellr now plans to launch the first of its shoebox-sized thermal imaging satellites in 2024 equipped with new funding.

However, the company won’t require an entire fleet of satellites to do the task. CEO and co-founder Max Gulde claims that just four satellites are required to be launched into orbit in order to collect daily footage of any area on Earth.

Once the satellites are in place, their sensors will begin to collect information that will be utilised to create heatmaps that show plant stress and water availability at the sub-field level. This makes it far more accurate than sentinel-3, the main Earth observation satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA). However, more importantly, Constellr claims that their system will be able to spot changes in crop health days to weeks before these indicators become obvious. Farmers may be able to respond quickly as a result and avoid crop failures, which may ruin livelihoods and undermine the world’s food supply.

According to Steven Jacobs, venture partner at Lakestar, one of Constellr’s major investors, “Climate change is the fundamental challenge our generation is facing. In our efforts to combat its effects, we must ensure the global food and water systems are more resilient.”

Constellr has raised around €30m in private and grant funding since its founding in 2019, per Dealroom statistics. French startup firm Karista was in charge of the most recent seed fundraising round, which was revealed last week.

Additionally, the European Commission and the ESA granted Constellr a €5 million contract last month to join Copernicus, the largest earth observation initiative in the world.

In an effort to dominate the market for beyond-visual data services for smart farming in Europe, the business also bought ScanWorld in April, a startup that specialises in hyperspectral satellite imaging and analytics.

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