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Can this Israeli start-up change the face of agritech?

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Taranis aims to bring precision and control to the agriculture industry across the world

By ILANIT CHERNICK

“You can only find this type of technology in Israel.”

These were the words of Taranis co-founder and COO Ayal Karmi who spoke with StandWithUs about the technology they have developed to identify, analyze and treat early signs of crop threats.

The Israeli start-up, located in Tel Aviv, aims to bring precision and control to the agriculture industry across the world, helping growers to maximize and stabilize yield from their crops.

“We’re an agriculture imaging company,” Karmi explained. “We have technology that can give us submillimeter imagery.”
Then, using their technology “we fly above fields and analyze the images.

“We can see little insects weeds, disease, and give a report to the farmer, and then he can spray and help his fields basically,” he added.

Asked about some of the challenges farmers face, Karmi said they have a lot of losses due to weeds, insects and disease.
“You need to find all that in time,” he stressed. “For the methods today you need to send somebody to walk through the fields [to inspect them], and they’re huge fields like big fields in the US and Brazil.

What Karmi explained was that using their technology they have basically automated the part of the agronomists.
“We send the drone that flies 30 miles per hour or 50 miles per hour, which covers the entire field in about 12 minutes and they’re huge huge fields of about a hundred acres,” he said. “Then immediately we can give them a report for insects, weeds as everything is automatic.

Israel, he said, has an amazing ecosystem when it comes to agritech startups.

Karmi highlighted that their technology also has models for deep learning that can target small insects and weeds.

He said that currently farmers basically lose a lot of money “due to the lack of, say, inefficiency. “It’s really hard to scout these fields as they are very large,” Karmi continued. “We give farmers a way to know everything [about their crops] even to the small insects, and then they can make a much better decision of the spray for example.”

Founded in 2015, the initial idea was to do models for crop disease, based on weather and one of the inputs to the model was satellite imagery.

“Soon we realized that we sell more of the satellite images than the actual model for disease because the farmer’s video like the images to see problems,” he said, pointing out that the problem with a satellite is that you don’t know what is the problem. “You just know there is a problem. And you still need to go to the area that you saw and work out what kind of an anomaly it is, so it doesn’t really save a lot of money or time.”

Karmi said that farmers really liked it and that’s when the Taranis team decided that they were also going to do a type “of a pivot and focus on the imagery and what could be causing problems.

According to Karmi, they still utilize some satellite imagery to have a general concept of the field “and then we utilize [ imagery taken by] the airplanes and drones to actually give a recommendation like a human being would do.”

Israel, he said, has an amazing ecosystem when it comes to agritech startups.
“Israel has the best computer vision, you know, and the [best] technical team[s],” Karmi said, adding that it’s a good combination.

“I think you can only find this technology in Israel because Israel also has a history of agriculture invention and innovation,” Karmi added.

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