Treeswift is using drones to monitor forests

drones to monitor forests

drones to monitor forests

Over the past decade, drones have become an increasingly important tool for forest monitoring. They’re a fast and effective way to collect a lot of data in one go, without upsetting the natural balance too much. Formed as a spinoff of the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Laboratory in 2020, Treeswift has been working to build out that promise.

Founders Steven Chen, Elizabeth Hunter, Michael Shomin, and Vaibhav Arcot brought together expertise in drone swarms and forestry to create a system capable of collecting large swaths of data in a fly-through. That information, collected through onboard cameras and sensors, can be utilized for a wide range of different applications, including deforestation monitoring, carbon capture readings, and forest fire prevention.

This week, the company announced, fittingly, a seed round. The $4.8 million in funding, led by Pathbreaker Ventures, brings the total up to $6.4 million.

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The Philadelphia-based startup’s primary offering is SwiftCruise, a combination hardware/software solution capable of collecting metrics on a tree-by-tree level. The information is processed by onboard machine learning algorithms and collected in a cloud-based data dashboard. It’s a more detailed picture than what’s traditionally been collected by methods like satellite or plane imagery.

“Our mission is to build the data ecosystem for the natural world, and we are accomplishing that by capturing important data from below the forest canopy, … We anticipate that Treeswift technology will help to obtain a more transparent, verifiable and accurate view of the planet from the ground up.”

Steven Chen


drones to monitor forests

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