SA agri-tech startup Aerobotics launches new platform for growers

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South African agri-tech startup Aerobotics has released a new yield management platform, offering growers tools to measure, manage and protect their yields.

Founded in Cape Town in 2014, Aerobotics uses aerial imagery from drones and satellites, and blends them with machine learning algorithms to provide early problem detection services to tree and wine farmers and optimise crop performance.

The startup’s cloud-based application Aeroview provides farmers with insights, scout mapping and other tools to mitigate damage to tree and vine crops from pest and disease.

Over the past seven years, Aerobotics – which raised Series B funding in 2020 – has collected perennial crop imagery from more than one million acres with over 200 growers to identify over 195 million plants. 

Now, as an important evolution of its tools for managing nutrition and irrigation, Aerobotics has launched a platform for measuring and tracking yields. Its mobile app allows growers to capture yield information on the ground, helping to inform recommendations and important management decisions to achieve target yields. 

The latest yield product uses tree, vine, or bush performance metrics to set up representative sampling locations on the new yield management platform. In the field, growers and their teams are guided to each geo-referenced tree, vine, or bush using the app where yield counts and sizes are recorded digitally, before being extrapolated into variety and block-level reports on the platform. 

With the latest fruit measurement and tracking tool, teams on the ground spend up to 75 per cent less time collecting 10 times more yield data by being efficiently guided to the most representative locations and leveraging the computer vision-enabled mobile application. Customers are already uploading thousands of images a week and usage has increased 15x over the last two months.

“One of our founding principles at Aerobotics is ‘farmers first’ and we’re very excited by the interest customers are showing in our approach to managing yield. As more and more growers look to agricultural technology to solve labor and input efficiency challenges, we’re helping our customers do more with less by understanding the impact of their limiting factors. By enabling control of production drivers like irrigation distribution uniformity and nutritional programs, we’re helping growers make data-driven decisions and achieve their target yields,” said James Paterson, CEO and co-founder at Aerobotics.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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