GreenSight drones fly custom-calibrated FLIR cameras that enable precise, course-wide moisture measurement from above. This image shows the output from those flights. Photo courtesy of GreenSight Agronomics
GreenSight Agronomics, a 3-year-old drone services and solutions provider, has acquired Turf Cloud Inc., expanding GreenSight’s ability to deliver more data, actionable information and efficiencies to turf managers across North America.
GreenSight’s primary business centers on remote sensing and analysis, whereby daily drone flights — deploying thermal and multispectral cameras — deliver actionable data that enable golf course superintendents to reduce water consumption, better task labor associated with irrigation and moisture measurement, and achieve better outcomes with less fungicide, pesticide and fertilizer applications. The firm’s proprietary software also interprets drone-gathered data relating to thermal mapping and soil temperature.
GreenSight drones fly autonomously. Data is uploaded and processed automatically using GreenSight’s cloud service. Client superintendents can access that data on any device and monitor changing turf conditions and stress levels on a day-to-day basis.
“This system was developed in conjunction with some of the most respected golf course superintendents in North America to help turf managers make better, more nuanced decisions,” says GreenSight CEO James Peverill. “Our primary emphasis here is the delivery of practical, time-sensitive data every day — to help identify and prevent turf issues supers wouldn’t otherwise detect for a few days.
“We’re equally focused on creating efficiencies, which explains our new partnership with Turf Cloud. Superintendents need a practical way to store and apply GreenSight data, in addition to all the other data turf managers gather and rely upon. The Turf Cloud dashboard enables superintendents to store that data in a single place, organize it, make it accessible for analysis, then deploy it effectively.”
Turf Cloud was founded in 2015 by a pair of working superintendents, Jason VanBuskirk and Stephen Ohlson. VanBuskirk, now GreenSight’s vice president of sales and marketing, designed the platform out of a need for a more responsive, interactive tool to manage 36-holes of golf. The firm’s proprietary dashboard, Turf Dash, now integrates GreenSight’s drone data in the context of its three existing core programs:
- CourseTrakk, a digital job board embedded right on the Turf Dash that helps supers manage and monitor ongoing labor allocations
- EquipTrakk, a digital log book that allows superintendents and equipment managers to keep tabs on equipment coming into the shop for routine maintenance or emergency repairs
- AgTrakk, which allows supers, their assistants or any staff member to input and monitor all agricultural practices performed each day, each week, each month, each year
“This is the sort of a data that most supers attempt to gather, analyze and deploy right now — but superintendents know better than anyone just how much time that requires,” says Ohlson, now GreenSight’s vice president of product development. “Turf Dash streamlines the process for entire crews by digitizing the data and storing all of it in a single accessible place. This technology (and the time it saves) enables far better analysis of this information.
“The data GreenSight is now providing to superintendents is such a game-changer. Integrating that information into the Turf Cloud dashboard and partnering with GreenSight made all the sense in the world.”
Poised to release its third-generation drone service this spring, GreenSight was busy on multiple fronts this winter. In February, after securing a new round of bridge funding in 2017 from a number of investors (Kiddar Capital, Emerald Managers and ScienceVest), The Toro Co. announced a strategic minority equity investment in GreenSight.
“As the golf industry expands its efforts to improve play and more efficiently use water, the application and advancement of technology will play a vital role,” says Philip Burkart, vice president of Toro’s irrigation and lighting businesses. “We are intrigued and see great potential to align with GreenSight Agronomics to apply their technologies and analytics with our water management expertise to further provide our customers with the best solutions.”
In December, GreenSight was selected by Airbus, a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services, to provide hardware, firmware and software tools for the Airbus Reliable Aircraft Connectivity Demonstrator, a flexible new radio architecture designed to improve the passenger onboard experience and support efforts to implement a more autonomous commercial aircraft. The technology will also support future capabilities in formation flight, Urban Air Mobility, and the digitization of maintenance and flight operations support services.
The Airbus deal illustrates the depth and diversity of GreenSight technological capabilities. The company was founded in 2015 by a group of former defense contractor executives and engineers, led by Peverill, whose skills were honed developing and deploying reconnaissance drone platforms in Afghanistan. GreenSight has already leveraged its automated intelligence services platform to improve the productivity and efficiencies in several market sectors — most prominently, turf management. Its automated drones, patented sensors and proprietary analytics are today deployed by top-five agro-chemical companies and many of leading golf courses across the U.S., Canada and U.K.