Five startups using the celestial to help the terrestrial

One of the things I love about technology is its trickle-down effect. Complicated and seemingly unobtainable software and hardware eventually make their way down into the hands of regular businesses and consumers. And sometimes they even come all the way down from space. Tech that was once reserved for satellites and spaceships is being used to enrich the earth. So here are five startups using the celestial for the terrestrial.

All five of these startups will be present at the evokeAG agrifood conference in Adelaide later this month.

Deep Planet

We’re starting off with one for you wine lovers. Deep Planet utilises satellite imagery, climate data and in-field data to help winemakers not only with viticulture but also to navigate climate change.

Founded in 2018 by Natalia Efremova, Sushma Shankar and David Carter, Deep Planet is a UK startup that has a focus on utilising machine learning to help the planet and modern agriculture to help reverse the damaging impact climate change had on the planet.

“The grape and wine sector really is the canary in the climate change coal mine for the agriculture industry,” said CEO David Carter in an email to SmartCompany.

“We’re helping growers and winemakers solve challenges in a transparent and data-driven way. Our solution helps them to make confident decisions to reduce costs, improve productivity, enhance quality and ultimately maximise returns all while making positive steps in their overall sustainability.”

The company’s data is able to model soil carbon content, as well as vine health, to help predict the ideal time to harvest.

Gaia Project Australia

Gaia Project Australia creates modular farming solutions that use AI to grow leafy vegetables in a more stable and predictable manner.

Founded in 2016, it aims to increase efficiency while reducing operating costs.

According to the company, its products allow for double the crop yield with half the usual energy consumption and labour. It also claims 95% less water usage.

And bringing it back to space, in 2022 Gaia Project was approved to develop a prototype of NASA.

Athena IR-Tech

Athena IR-Tech is a South Australian startup that uses infrared technology that lets plants notify farmers when they’re thirsty. Yes, really.

Athena’s tech measures the plant, environmental temperature, humidity and solar radiation to help with irrigation efficiency. It alerts farmers when a water status drops below the optimal level via 4G, GPS and cloud technology.

According to the company, water scarcity due to climate change means that irrigation optimisation is more critical than ever.

Downforce Technologies

Downforce Technologies is a startup from the UK that is uses high-resolution 3D mapping to create digital twins of the land.

This enables farmers to be able to remotely measure carbon levels, soil health, water and biodiversity in order to make informed decisions and boost yield and sustainability.

If this is sounding a little familiar, you may be remembering Agronomeye. We covered its capital raise back in December and it also makes digital twins of farms for improvised management and risk assessment of lands. This Tassie startup utilises LiDAR technology with its tech to capture the likes of object height and high-fidelity data.

When it comes to agtech solutions, we’re of the opinion that the more the merrier.

Bee Innovative

NSW agtech startup Bee Innovative focuses on precision pollination through the use of drones, radar and even facial recognition technology.

The global bee population has decreased by up to 80% which threatens the future of agriculture and food security worldwide. Founders and beekeepers David and Kate Lyall are passionate about bee protection and contributing to the reversal of the harm population decline have already caused.

The company’s multi-faceted ‘BeeDar’ technology allows for bee tracking as well as the identification of diseases such as the varroa destructor mite.

Farmers are also able to see which of their plants are being adequately pollinated and compare crop yield results.

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