The latest version of a popular smartphone app which offers farmers guidance on crop health, pests and weed control is set to launch in March.
Skippy Scout, an autonomous app that flies drones to points plotted by the farmer using a mobile phone, will be available to buy from 1 March.
The crop scouting software package reduces the time it takes to monitor and evaluate crop problems.
Over 300 early users worldwide tested version one of the software in 2019, creating a waiting list for version two.
In just one year app developer Drone Ag expects to subscribe over 1,000 users in the UK alone.
Further launches in the US and Africa will commence in 2021 and 2022, with a projected 10,000 users worldwide by 2023.
Jack Wrangham, founder of Drone Ag said: “Farmers do not need to have prior understanding of drones or the ability to fly a drone because the software will do it all for them.
“Skippy users will use maps on their phone to simply touch the points in a field they want to see images of.
“The drone flies to these points and sends the images to the phone.
“Once delivered, the artificial intelligence in the app analyses the images and provides data on green area index (GAI), pests and weeds.”
A single user software license is available for £30 per month, and there is also relatively little investment needed to buy a suitable drone.
Mr Wrangham explains: “A Mavic Mini is a perfectly suitable drone for crop scouting and can be bought for just £450. This would make the annual use of Skippy £810.”
A key benefit of the Mavic Mini is its weight. “At just 249 grams it falls one gram below the threshold for registration.”
Drones under 250 grams do not need to be registered with the Civil Aviation Authority which will save farmers time and hassle with paperwork.
“All you need is your smartphone and a drone. When you register for Skippy you can be in the air monitoring your crops on the same day,” he adds.
A partnership with drone specialists Heliguy means that Skippy Scout users will be offered replacement drones, and repairs to damaged drones.