UAVs go Banana

Published on
December 19, 2014

For as long as bananas are grown, banana camps throughout Southeast Asia with fungal diseases such as the dreaded Panama disease. The team of the UAV Research Facility at Wageningen University investigated together with the company Triple20 if images from drones or UAVs can be used to map the health of banana plants.

The outcome of this project shows that very high-resolution images acquired from an (un)manned aerial platform can be used to derive relevant mapping products for management of banana plantations. These maps provide insight in the spatial distribution of management parameters. The use of remote sensing based information for the detection of diseases in banana plants has been investigated based on spectral field measurements. The results show that fungal infection of the plants has a clear effect on the spectral signature of especially the banana leaves.

The new company QLark will use the established knowledge the set up a mapping service  for banana plantations. The owner Philip Hansmann stated: ‘The ambition is to acquire a UAV next year itself and to open an office in the Philippines.’ We will further develop the technology. But not only that. We also discovered that we should have an understandable story for the banana grower so that they can work with the information.