A new player is jumping into the precision agriculture market with an autonomous drone platform. American Robotics, a Boston based drone developer focused on agricultural automation, announced it has raised $1.1 million in seed funding. Angel investors led the round that included Brain Robotics Capital LLC, a fund focused on science-backed companies in the AI, Robotics, and IoT industries.
The funding will be used to further develop American Robotics’ integrated drone system for commercial farming and to expand its team. The company was founded by Reese Mozer, an alumni from Carnegie Mellon and Vijay Somandepalli, who graduated from Stanford. They plan to pilot the product this summer.
According to their press release, “The US agricultural industry loses billions of dollars of crops annually to preventable problems and spends billions in chemicals, water, and other inputs fighting this loss. In 2012, $17.5 billion of crops were lost to due to drought and heat damage alone. Furthermore, every year US farmers lose 12 percent of their crops to pests and another 12 percent to disease. Traditional scouting solutions are not adequate and agtech is looking to automation and big data to improve agricultural decision-making and yields.”
“Our mission is to expand the possibilities of precision agriculture,” said Reese Mozer, Co-Founder and CEO of American Robotics. “Farmers are looking to automation to help tackle the issue of producing more food to support the growing population in a more sustainable way. To do that, they need a reliable tool. We are employing cutting-edge automation, intelligence, and an IIoT mindset to develop a practical, turn-key solution.”
“There are many drone companies in the world, and it’s no surprise that it is a red ocean market,” said Pei Qi, Founding & Managing Partner, Brain Robotics Capital. “American Robotics is one of very few who can provide a real full stack of solutions for a very specific application field. More importantly the team understands the business rather than just the technology. That’s why we believe they can define the new standard in agriculture.”
There are a number of drone firms with some significant traction in the precision agriculture market. They include DroneDeploy, PrecisionHawk, and Kespry, among others. How American Robotics will stack up against them in terms of features or price will be interesting to watch.
American Robotics is based in the MassRobotics collaboration space in Boston, an emerging hub for robotics startups.