James Paterson (2007S) Interview on BizNews

Cape-based startup Aerobotics is seriously making headway in improving the way farmers farm.

Pest Detecting Drone Helps Farmers Pest Detecting Drone Helps Farmers
Gareth van Zyl from BizNews:

James Paterson is the CEO of Cape-based drone company Aerobotics and he joins me now on the podcast. James, the first time I heard about your company was at Amazon’s AWS Summit in Cape Town earlier this year. It’s really fascinating what you’re doing. Can you tell the listeners more?
 

Yes, thanks Gareth. It’s good to be here. So at Aerobotics we focus on farmers, helping them detect problems early on their farms. This involves mostly detecting pests and diseases at an early stage. We do this by using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse drone and satellite imagery, and then extract information from that and sent alerts to the farmer of when they’ve got an issue.
 

To me, it also looks like you’re offering drones as a service so to speak. Can you explain how your packages work because I see that you’ve got three price points and your analyses for farmers goes down to individual tree level even? Some farmers don’t even need to own a drone – they can just use your drones, right?
 

Yes, exactly. So, what we do is we take this drone and satellite imagery and we track it back down. So, that’s important because we’re taking photos and we’re turning each tree into a data point that we can then track over time: we can see how the tree is growing, the health of that tree, and compare it to other trees in the orchard or the industry. For that full package we do provide a seasonal service, so the farmer can just sign up and pay a ‘per hectare per month’ subscription. The pilot will show up three-times during the season to do a full drone flight. Apart from that, they get a weekly satellite health update of how their orchards are doing, and then that aerial data links through to an app which guides them to the location of the problems in the field. That is basically the full package...." To read the full article click HERE


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