While it might seem easy, agriculture is one of the most challenging areas that is yet to be fully touched by the latest technologies. However, with more companies taking an interest in the segment, farming is heading towards being more sustainable, economical and profitable for farmers. The Toulouse-based startup Sunbirds manufactures, designs and markets long-range solar drones that can not only be used for agricultural purposes, but for other scenarios like environmental monitoring, and surveying.
The company is now expanding its operations to Australia, where it has set up an office, assembly workshop and maintenance centre in Brisbane, Queensland. The new office supplies drone packages and drone-as-a-service solutions surveyors, cattle stations and environmental monitoring companies. Australia has quite large agricultural properties and thanks to progressive regulations for long-range drone flights, Sunbirds is expecting to hire local operators in regional Australia by early 2020.
‘Sunbirds’ solar-powered drone can fly for seven hours, making it a perfect match for aerial monitoring of large areas with plentiful sunlight, such as cattle stations in Outback Australia,’ says Amaury Wiest, Director, Sunbirds Aero. ‘Australian landholders have to fly manned aircraft twice a week to check their stock and bore water pumps over properties as large as some European countries. Our drones can significantly reduce monitoring costs, save time and fuel, and increase safety and comfort.’
Sunbirds is also teaming up with Australian drone retailer, local training companies and international firms to expand its business in Australia. Weist adds that Sunbirds’ drones could be readily deployed in Australia due to the country’s advanced and flexible regulations for long-range drone flights. The company also strategically chose Australia to set-up its next base of operations because of its cultural ties and proximity to Asia. The startup is also in plans to soon expand its business into Southeast Asia.
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