Keennan De Bie
02 May 2023

Greek start-up IONOS features in PhotonHub Europe video series showcasing projects supported through EU Photonics Accelerator Programmes.

Organisations that have innovated with the help of EU-funded photonics support programmes are being profiled in a series of short videos by PhotonHub Europe.

IONOS is a Greek start-up focused on research and experimental development services in the area of agricultural science. Based in Heraklion, the company is the leading provider in Greece of integrated services UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones) which they have designed exclusively for agricultural use.

The use of drones in an agricultural setting offers a number of advantages. These include:

  • Enabling precision in various agricultural tasks, such as spraying, sowing and plant protection
  • Offering the capability to be connected to high-tech cameras and devices in order to monitor diseases, parasites, water supply and fertilization
  • Carrying out difficult and dangerous pesticides spraying work more efficiently and safely.

It is estimated that drones can spray fertilizer 40 to 60 times faster than doing so by hand. However, the use of drones for spraying has raised concerns over potential dispersion-drift of the spraying cloud to people, animals and neighbouring crops. These concerns have led to limitations being set on the broader deployment of this technology. IONOS identified the need to address this issue by collecting sound data to show that pesticide spraying practices can be performed in a safe manner, and ultimately make a case for permitting drone spraying operations.

Through the EU Photonics Accelerator Programme, IONOS was supported in conducting a feasibility study on the implementation of an optical fiber sensing probe for detecting spraying drift/efficiency during drone spraying operation. The project led to IONOS working with two international research institutes: The Foundation for Research and Technology – Hellas (FORTH) in Greece and the Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) based in the Zepler Institute, at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. The expertise of FORTH and ORC resulted in the development of an easily accessible yet reliable and precise optical fiber sensing technology, which can be applied to droplet drift quantification.

As a next step, IONOS is collaborating with FORTH to further develop the investigated sensing technology as an add-on offering within its portfolio of drones and services for the drone spraying market.

See more about IONOS at:

Could photonics drive innovation in your business?

Discover the photonics technology innovation support available through PhotonHub Europe and apply online today.

PhotonHub has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Grant Agreement n*101016665, in Public Private Partnership with Photonics21.

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