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Smart Apply’s LiDAR-powered System Sees Orchards + Vineyards in a New Light

Growers of specialty crops such as tree fruits and nuts, grapes and hops are curious about how the Smart Apply Intelligent Spray Control System is able to reduce chemical use by an average of 50% and up to 80% in younger trees/vines. The answer is simple: LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging. This remote sensing technology uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure the size, density, and location of individual trees and vines. Using this information, the Smart Apply System is able to deliver precise amounts of chemicals to individual plants, avoiding over application of costly chemicals as well as minimizing airborne drift and run-off.

It’s pretty interesting how it works. When you add a Smart Apply System to your air blast sprayer, it transforms the sprayer from continuous spraying to a precision ag tool that actually “sees” individual trees and vines as well as blank spots where there are no plants. The Smart Apply-enabled sprayer only sprays when the system tells it to. In this illustration, we contrast actual plants with what a sprayer with a Smart Apply Systems sees. The darker the blue in the LiDAR visual, the greater the density of the tree’s foliage. This is what dictates the volume of chemicals applied. The red you see depicts where there is no tree or vine and thus no spray is directed to these areas.

A lot of growers spray at night and have asked if darkness impacts the system’s ability to see what it’s spraying. Smart Apply performs like a champ after dark. Its LiDAR sensing capabilities are not impacted by a lack of available light. The system continues to “see and spray,” which takes a lot of pressure off operators who typically rely on what they are able to visualize in the dark to adjust spray cycles.

The Smart Apply System is sold as a kit that is retrofitted on virtually any air blast sprayer regardless of maker and model. The system can be added to new sprayers or one you’ve had in the shed for years.

Want to learn more? Visit Smart Apply’s website. Find an authorized Smart Apply dealer here.