Currently, 75% in average of the pesticides sprayed from all vehicles, miss their target and are lost to the air. Pesticide drift (1) causes every year multi-billion dollar damages to sensitive crops around the world; (2) is hazardous to the environment; (3) puts agricultural workers and nearby communities at serious risk; and (4) increases and speeds up the development of pest and herb resistance.
DriftSense Ltd., is an Israeli startup company that was founded in late 2019 by Dr. Elad Segal, an expert in materials science and pesticides detection; Dr. Pavel Kunin, who specializes in numerical weather prediction; and Dr. Ran Shauli, who brings to the company his experience in environmental policy.
The company’s aim is to reduce significantly airborne pesticide drift in agriculture, and to maximize spraying effectiveness, by providing growers with the most accurate timing for spraying; and by evaluating and preventing the risk of receiving pesticide drift from neighboring fields.
Solution, Technology and innovation
DriftSense uses Machine Learning algorithms, together with weather and dispersion models, to build a unique customized multidimensional profile for each and every plot. These profiles take into account the type of crop grown; the specific features of the terrain; the changing local weather conditions; the physicochemical characteristics of the substances used; the features of the plot and the relevant regulations that apply locally.
This novel approach complements existing solutions which concentrate on early detection of pests by remote sensing, as it can be applicable to pre-emergence stages and to burndown herbicide spraying – when pests are not possibly detectable. The DriftSense approach is also more comprehensive than localized weather predictions, which do not take into consideration chemistry, regulatory regimes, insights from spraying history, and the interaction between adjacent fields.
Drift Sense has received a pre-seed investment from Bar Ilan University, along with an unconditional intellectual property waiver; and a start-off grant from the Israel Innovation Authority. The company has conducted several Proof of Concept analyses in Israel and the US – in cooperation with major growers, and is now conducting field experiments in Israel.
The beachhead market for the services of Drift Sense is that of specialty crops growers in the USA. These growers suffer from financial losses due to ineffective spraying and pesticide drift, which include injuries to crops, loss of pesticide material, and expenses related to liability and compliance issues.
On February the 4th 2021, DriftSense will host a webinar, with the participation of top-notch American and Israeli experts in herbicide science, phytopathology, atmospheric sciences and US regulation.