Every second, the world population grows by nearly 3 more people. This means 260,000 people a day. By 2025, the global population will reach 8 billion people. Feeding an extra billion mouths poses an unprecedented challenge.
To produce enough food for our ever-growing population, we need more sustainable food production and smart farming.
With precision farming, the farmer can manage variations in the field accurately. Soil, weather, vegetation and water vary from place to place. Accurately monitoring, mapping and managing these variations allows farmers to grow more food using fewer resources and reducing production costs.
If farmers can detect changes in their crops which they cannot see with their naked eye or with a regular camera, it would allow them to take action before it’s too late. By using a camera to observe the earth in more colours than the traditional red, green and blue of RGB cameras, changes can be detected faster and more accurately. For accurate monitoring, farmers can use the technology of hyperspectral imaging, which captures many colours per image.
Making the camera accurate, lightweight and small so it can fly on drones, is a challenge imec researchers gladly accepted. Combining this novel technology with VITO’s image processing and working with ESA on remote sensing satellites, a powerful camera which easily fits on a small unmanned aircraft was created. The camera can deliver detailed data for precision agriculture. And it has also potential in forestry, biomass monitoring, waste and pollution management.
That is how imec contributes to sustainable food production and a sustainable planet.