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Today, agriculture is all about high precision and high speed. In the past decade, precision farming has witnessed unprecedented growth across the world. A majority of the latest farm equipment available today has a form of precision farming component. The concept of precision farming is to do the right thing at the right time in the right place with the right amount. This practice results in improved sustainability, increased productivity, and higher profitability for farmers. Also, it saves their time considerably.
Modern and efficient farm equipment lets farmers improve their produce, reduce input costs, reduce work and increase comfort, and more. Such precision agriculture equipment produces higher yields with reduced pesticides and increases the efficiency of the agricultural area.
With the advancement in technology, several companies are using drones and robots to improve crop production. While field robots are not commonly used, drones are taking off in precision agriculture. Drones are used to capture images and provide data to monitor crops starting from planting to harvest. With drones, farmers can react faster to threats such as weeds, climatic changes, etc. and take appropriate actions in real-time. As drones are flying high in precision farming, we list 8 European startups that use agricultural drones.
Atmos UAV (Netherlands)
Founders: Dirk Dokter, Joost Bouman, Ruud Knoops, Sander Hulsman
Founded year: 2013
Why its hot: Based in Delft, Atmos UAV has developed an industrial drone, which is a helicopter and an aeroplane crossover. Dubbed Marlyn UAV, this drone is a hybrid industrial-grade photogrammetry drone, which is easy and efficient. The drone serves a multitude of purposes including land and construction surveying, protection of forestry, open-pit mining, and precision agriculture.
Founders: Dragos Constantin, Igor Ivanov, Yosef Akhtman
Funding: €18.7 million
Valuation: €44 million – €66 million
Founded year: 2015
Why its hot: Swiss startup Gamaya addresses the necessity to increase sustainability and efficiency of large industrial farming. This company is focused on increasing productivity and scalability of small-scale farming with the world’s most advanced solution for mapping and diagnostics farmland. It helps farmers use fertilisers, chemicals, water, and fuel more efficiently and focus on both quality and quantity. Also, it helps them reduce the risks of extreme weather, climate and drought conditions.
Founders: Bastien Mancini, Benjamin Benharrosh, Benjamin Michel, Michael de Lagarde
Funding: €16 million
Valuation: €58 million – €87 million
Founded year: 2011
Why its hot: Delair is a leader in professional UAVs and provides data based on aerial imagery to help industries make informed decisions. The French startup delivers end-to-end solutions from business analysis to data acquisition. It is specialised in offering solutions to various industries including mining, agriculture, geomatics, etc. Headquartered in France, Delair has offices in Belgium, Singapore, and Los Angeles.
HummingBird Technologies (UK)
Founders: Will Wells
Funding: €12 million
Valuation: £30 million
Founded year: 2015
Why its hot: HummingBird Technologies is a London-based company, which uses drones with customised sensors as well as a satellite to gather data and imagery that will help in precision agriculture. The company uses advanced machine learning algorithms and computer vision in order to provide information on crop health. Their products include the detection of crop diseases, nutrient optimisation and more.
Accelerated Dynamics (UK)
Founders: Mantas Gribulis, Umar Javed Wani
Founded year: 2016
Why its hot: Accelerated Dynamics has developed an operating platform to simplify the management of multiple drones. Its software solution lets farmers use UAV vehicle fleets sans any training. Accelerated Dynamics’ platform integrates IoT devices such as moisture sensors and irrigation devices to monitor crops at all times and ensure farmers increase the quality and quantity of their produce.
Founders: Ramon Haken, Albert Maas, Gerbert van de Ven
Funding: €2 million
Valuation: €6 million – €9 million
Founded year: 2014
Why its hot: Avular has developed a modular drone platform called Aerial Curiosity, which lets users easily connect new sensors and programs. It comprises two components – a modular platform and software layer. With the modular platform, it is possible to assemble the drone quickly for multiple use cases while the software layer shortens the development time.
BioCarbon Engineering (UK)
Founders: Irina Fedorenko, Lauren Fletcher, Martin Tengler, Matthew Ritchie, Susan Graham
Funding: €2.3 million
Valuation: $10 million – $15 million
Founded year: 2014
Why its hot: BioCarbon Engineering operates with the goal to plant 500 billion trees by 2060 with the drones. The drone technology used by this company can survey the environment and disperse seeds at a high-speed across massive areas. This drone technology is touted to be 10 times more effective than traditional hand-planting and is claimed to plant nearly 10,000 trees in a day.
PAINTEC SL (Spain)
Founders: Cristian Villa Gomez, José Manuel Ruiz Melero, Cristian Aldaz Vidarte
Founded year: 2017
Why its hot: Precisión Aérea Innovación y Nuevas Tecnología SL (PAINTEC) provides remote sensing services through drone platforms. It uses different sensors to collect useful information for further processing and conversion to deliver highly valuable information. Precision agriculture and topography are some of its applications.
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