Halifax Firm Pairs Smart Technology with Napa Wine Country
Government of Canada invests in revolutionary crop health monitoring drone technology
October 13, 2016 – Hammonds Plains, N.S. – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)
Halifax-based SkySquirrel Technologies offers cutting-edge solutions to monitor crop health in vineyards. The innovative approach to data collection and retrieval is attracting the attention of industry veterans in North America and Europe. Today, Darrell Samson, Member of Parliament for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook, announced a $500,000 repayable contribution through ACOA’s Business Development Program (BDP). This support is assisting the company to enhance and market its innovative agriculture-focused platform. SkySquirrel produces a fraction of the carbon footprint associated with traditional aerial monitoring methods. In addition, early detection of diseases can result in reduced use of pesticides.
Producers of high-value crops, such as grapes, encounter numerous factors that influence yield and quality. Current data collection methods relying on handheld scanners or aerial and satellite images can be time-consuming, expensive and less effective for managing critical factors, such as irrigation optimization and crop disease prevention. SkySquirrel has developed a specialized drone-based imaging system that can provide high-quality data through aerial images. Unique to SkySquirrel’s solution is the ability to detect specific vineyard diseases, which was developed from technology used by NASA. With the help of a drone, areas of up to 100 acres can be photographed in a single 25 minute flight. The system is easy to use, requires limited training and can be operated by farmers or crop consultants. SkySquirrel is currently operating in three countries and its products are used by clients across the globe.
This project reinforces the Government of Canada’s commitment to innovation, clean growth and taking action on climate change, as highlighted in the Atlantic Growth Strategy that was recently launched by federal ministers and the four Atlantic premiers. Through this Strategy, the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces are working together to build a vibrant economic future for Atlantic Canada by combining efforts and resources to stimulate the regional economy.
“Canada has the potential to prosper in clean technology, energy, and similar emergent industries providing solutions to reduce reliance on high-carbon consumption. Atlantic Canadian businesses are competing in global markets to sell innovative products and services that resolve real world problems.”
- The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
“SkySquirrel’s game changer approach to vineyard crop protection is making a name for the company in some of the world’s best-known wine regions including the Napa Valley. This made-in-Nova Scotia solution is ready to be appreciated by growers around the world.”
- Darrell Samson, Member of Parliament for Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook
“This investment enhances our ability to bring our technology to market and expand our current operating capacity at home in Atlantic Canada, in California, and in Switzerland. As we expand our reach around the globe, this funding means that our products can now impact larger numbers of crop growers who seek the benefit of an elegant, clean-energy monitoring system developed by a Canadian team.”
- Richard van der Put, CEO, SkySquirrel Technologies
Director of Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Phone: 902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)
Phone: 902-442-7742 (office)
SkySquirrel Technologies is a crop-analytics company that develops drone-based technology for monitoring crop health, with a focus on improving crop yields and reducing costs at commercial vineyards. The company has an exclusive partnership with Scientific Aerial Imaging, Inc., leading provider of remote sensing services to grape growers in California. In 2015, SkySquirrel was selected as one of Canada’s top tech start-ups by Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX).
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