Making Drone Technology Accessible to Farmers


Gepubliceerd op 6 december 2023

In modern agriculture, the importance of technology & data has significantly increased in identifying suitable control measures. A notable trend is the integration of drones, which bring advantages like crop growth monitoring & precision management to enhance yield, quality & soil health. Despite technological advancements increasing the attractiveness of drone applications, agricultural companies have been hesistant in their adoption. To harness the full potential of drones, FlandersMake, VITO, ILVO, pcfruit, IDEWE & Syntrum collaborated to bolster human capital by incorporating drone technology into business operations.

This initiative received financial support from the European Social Fund (ESF). Let's delve into the outcomes of the agricultural applications within this project and elaborate on how we effectively facilitated comprehension, integration, & utilization of drone technology in the daily work of farmers. 


Together with the project partners, VITO has implemented an extensive training programme aimed at instructing pilots and farmers/growers in the acquisition, analysis, and interpretation of drone data. Their objective was to provide employees with essential skills, spanning from fundamental principles to advanced applications.  

To ensure optimal engagement of employees, pilot projects were executed in close cooperation with potato, strawberry and pear growers, along with drone pilots. The guidance process encompassed

  • an initial visit to elucidate application goals and anticipated outcomes 
  • instruction on utilizing the MAPEO web application
  • support for drone flight execution
  • guidance and counsel on interpreting results, and
  • feedback on protocols and improvements for subsequent campaigns. 

For the fruit pilot initiatives involving strawberry and pear growers, pcfruit and VITO collaboratively authored a guide directing fruit growers on the necessary steps to request a drone flight through the EVA app. EVA is seamlessly connected to the MAPEO drone processing chain (VITO), ensuring that requests become immediately activated in MAPEO. 

A similar guide, developed by ILVO and VITO, assists potato farmers and drone pilots in utilizing drone technology for Alternaria detection via MAPEO.

The MAPEO platform offers a simple module to order drone flights and products.

The MAPEO platform offers a simple module to order drone flights and products.

Interested pilots received extensive training on how to perform drone flights in agriculture, with optimized MAPEO field software and a detailed manual. A dedicated pilot training course, developed in collaboration with Syntrum, was incorporated into the list of available Syntrum courses. The pilot handbook is accessible on the MAPEO help center.

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