Boston AgTech Innovation Spotlight: American Robotics
May 24, 2017
As a lead up to GAI AgTech Week 2017, the GAI team thought it would be interesting to tell you about some of the local agtech players we’ve been meeting during our planning of this third annual agtech event, which will take place in Boston in June.
Founder & CEO
American Robotics is a drone developer specializing in agricultural automation. The company recently raised $1.1 million in seed funding led by angel investors and included Brain Robotics Capital LLC.
How did you come into the agtech scene and what was your personal inspiration?
My interest in agtech was sparked by a research report that I worked on for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI). As I explored the potential use of drones in agriculture I saw the opportunity for a connected drone system to increase productivity and to address the anticipated shortage of farmers.
From there, I immersed myself in the industry by reading every agtech paper I could find about remote sensing and its application in precision agriculture, taking online courses in farm management, and attending industry events to understand the challenges the farming industry faced. I quickly realized that despite public notions, farmers are steadfast adopters of technology, ready to integrate the next new thing as soon as ROI is demonstrated.
From a personal perspective, I wanted to focus my efforts on technology that would help overcome a real world issue. The opportunities right now to apply robotics innovations and subsequently improve agricultural efficiencies are immense. For me, it was the perfect fit.
Please tell us a bit about American Robotics. How will your technology disrupt the agriculture sector?
As the world’s population continues to grow, farmers will need to be able to produce more food from the same land. Exacerbating this problem, an aging farmer population is simultaneously shrinking in numbers. To overcome these hurdles, growers need scalable solutions that will increase productivity. At American Robotics we are developing an integrated drone system for commercial farming that enables reliable, autonomous scouting for farmers. This, in turn, will allow farmers to improve yields and reduce the overuse of pesticides and water. Our mission is to become the new standard in agriculture, and we believe that over time our drones will become as important to a farmer as his tractor.
How has being located in the Boston area supported your business goals?Boston is a world-renowned hub for innovation and education. It is also becoming known for its achievements in robotics. Having access to MassRobotics and its hardware-focused workspace and ecosystem was a key factor in attracting us to the Boston area. We feel the Boston ecosystem genuinely understands the robotics culture, and as we scale we’re confident we will have access to some of the brightest talent this country has to offer.
Are you currently raising capital, and how do you see your company evolving over the next five years?
We recently closed $1.1m in seed funding to further develop our drone solution for commercial farming. In 5 years time we believe that this system will have been firmly established as the new standard for precision farming.
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