BOSTON (CBS) – Keeping the greens green on a golf course or keeping a farm in top shape can be quite a challenge, but it’s one a Boston company decided to tackle head on.
GreenSight created a drone that flies high above the turf or crops and can spot diseases or dry spots.
“The future of drone technology is unattended drones that actually fly themselves so that reduces labor,” said James Peverill, who co-founded GreenSight in Boston.
They had to start with a drone that was light enough to fly for long distances on a single charge.
“It’s all about making this as light as possible, and we spent a lot of time shaving individual grams off this thing,” Peverill said. “I mean, it is pretty well optimized.”
Inside the drone?
“This is kind of the guts of the unit. You can see our cellular modem; we have a Wi-Fi modem; this little cube here is actually our auto-pilot; and then we have a GPS receiver on the top,” Peverill explained.
And then underneath the drone — the key to its function — three different cameras. “We have a visual, infrared and then a thermal camera,” Peverill said.
With all that equipment, the drone can then take off, fly over an entire golf course or farm, take pictures with those cameras and then stitch them all together to detect the health of the course.
When the drone lands, it uploads the information and sends it to the golf course’s superintendent or the farmer.
“They can view that data in the evening or in the morning before they get to work and they can plan out their whole day, and they get alerts about where there are diseases and where there’s problems,” Peverill said.
Eventually, GreenSight wants these at thousands of golf courses and small farms across the country.
“We want to have national coverage using these systems on farms, golf courses; we’re doing a bunch of bridge inspection, roadway inspection work with local DOTs, construction sites,” Peverill said. “We have all kinds of plans.”
Most of the workers at GreenSight were recruited from Northeastern University and Boston University. The drones are made almost entirely in Boston.