Drone imaging above Napa Valley

Hawk Aerial CEO Kevin Gould flies the Aqweo Vineyard Drone System, gathering aerial data to be processed by VineView Scientific Imaging into a map for use by vineyard operators to optimize crop outputs.

Hawk Aerial photo

VineView Scientific Aerial Imaging of St. Helena announced it has partnered with Hawk Aerial and SkySquirrel Technologies to bring drone technology to the vineyard management industry.

SkySquirrel Technologies manufactures the Aqweo drone and Quanta camera system designed specifically to acquire multispectral data from wine-grape growing operations, said a news release. 

Hawk Aerial markets and sells the Aqweo and Quanta drone systems, and also provides contracted drone flight services (using Hawk Aerial’s pilots and drones) for those customers who choose not to own and operate their own drones, but want the benefits that aerial imaging can provide.

All images are processed by VineView Imaging, a provider of aerial imaging in the Napa Valley.

After processing the data, the company creates and delivers reports so vineyard management can make informed decisions to increase their grapes’ quality, as well as their business revenue and profits, said the release.

Drone-based imaging offers several advantages over previous technology, according to VineView.

Drones are able to fly closer to the ground, allowing for greater accuracy and higher image resolution. They also allow customers to obtain aerial data on demand, according to their own schedules, said the company. Drones are currently considered most efficient for imaging small- to medium-sized properties, said the release. 

The use of aerial imaging services benefits vineyard management by providing critical, actionable information on vine stress, vigor, and disease, said the company.

Studies show that aerial imaging has the potential to increase vineyard revenue by up to $10,000 per acre per year while decreasing operational costs. 

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