Treeswift raises $4.8 million to capture forest data with LiDAR drones
Treeswift, a Philadelphia-based startup that has spun out of the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Laboratory, has secured $4.8 million in seed funding to build a drone-based forest monitoring system.
Treeswift’s LiDAR-equipped drones are capable of navigating under the forest canopy independently. So, unlike satellite or aerial imagery that forest researchers typically rely on, these drones can collect terabytes of data from the ground up at unprecedented detail. The drone-based approach is also 10x faster compared to manual processes wherein foresters go out into the woods, earmark samples of land, calculate the trees by hand using a tape measure, and extrapolate the sample numbers into estimates about forest size and biomass.
Once Treeswift’s drones collect the data, advanced machine learning algorithms come into play to create high-resolution 3D forest reconstructions. These 3D maps display the finest details of every tree structure, and can be…