The Case for Smaller Equipment
Agriculture has been able to reach incredible levels of productivity in part due to larger and larger machinery. So why might some farm equipment be smaller in the future? Precision AI CEO Daniel McCann explains why they decided to offer swarms of drones rather than trying to build larger and larger drones.
McCann… “If you have one sprayer in a field, and that sprayer breaks down. You're basically out of commission, right? You can't do anything until that sprayer is fixed. And in farming, logistics always trumps agronomy, like getting the job done on time is always much more important than almost how you get the job done. And so, if a big piece of equipment is out of commission, that's a problem. So making a giant drone sprayer, that's hard to keep in the air is actually really expensive and actually really risky. So we sort of thought about this and said, well, what about swarms of drones? What if you could swarm 10 drones over a field instead of having one giant drone? And each has a much smaller payload, but over 10 now you've got the same type of wingspan as you get with a sprayer. And if one of those drones goes down, you still have nine left to do the job. And that seems actually the right solution to the problem. So you just swarm more drones and you can scale up in the largest field or scale down to the smallest field. It's a pretty unique approach.”
Precision AI is currently testing their swarm-based drone spraying technology on farms and plans to offer them commercially after the 2022 season.