Yiannis Ampatzidis and his research team combined their collective minds to find the artificial intelligence technology to best help farmers save money and better care for their crops.
Out of that process, they invented a system known as Agroview.
The system utilizes images from drones and satellites and from the ground – along with artificial intelligence — to assess plant stress, count and categorize plants based on their height and canopy area and estimate plant nutrient content. Agroview can reduce data collection and analysis time and cost by up to 90% compared to the manual data collection, Ampatzidis said.
“Florida and U.S. growers can use this novel technology to count plants and predict yield, to detect stressed plant zones earlier and to develop maps for precision and variable-rate fertilizer applications,” said Ampatzidis, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering. “The maps can optimally apply fertilizers, reduce application cost and reduce environmental impact.”
Agroview captured the eye of UF Innovate | Tech Licensing, which recently recognized the technology as a UF Invention of the Year.
“I am extremely honored to receive this award,” said Ampatzidis, a young scientist who just entered his fourth year at UF/IFAS. “We truly believe that this AI-based technology could help Florida and U.S. producers improve crop productivity and management.”
He thanked his research team at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC) in Immokalee for helping devise Agroview. He also expressed gratitude to his colleagues from the center and his academic department at the Gainesville campus for their input.
“I would like to thank UF Innovate | Tech Licensing and especially Dr. John Byatt and Dr. Jackson Streeter for their great help to commercialize this invention,” Ampatzidis said.
A spinoff company called “Agriculture Intelligence Inc.,” was created, which provides Agroview’s services to growers.
His bosses are also impressed with the work of Ampatzidis and his team.
“The Agroview product developed by Dr. Ampatzidis’ program provides the key for connecting UAV imagery to grower decisions. This product bridges a gap that existed between research and on-the-ground, everyday use,” said Kati Migliaccio, chair of the UF/IFAS agricultural and biological engineering department. “Dr. Ampatzidis uses AI in his programs to automate processes that have been traditionally been completed in more resource-expense ways. These efforts will allow for greater efficiency and optimization of the agricultural production process, which is necessary to meet future global food needs.”
Ampatzidis’ center director, Kelly Morgan, said SWFREC has a long history of supporting vegetable and citrus production.
“We have typically worked on standard inputs such as fertilizer, water and pesticides,” Morgan said. “Agroview is an example of the new emphasis on precision agriculture by the research center. This program will make growers in Florida much more efficient and result in far less environmental impact. This product of SWFREC should result in lower inputs of fertilizer, water and pesticides.”
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.