Drones, a Farmer’s New Best Friend?

July 11, 2018

      spotify.gif

TechTalk takes a look at a tech startup, Aerobotics, that is using drones to help farmers in South Africa. This promising technology can help increase crop yields by gathering valuable data on disease, pests, droughts, fertilization and more.


Transcript

Dave Plaskow: Hello, and welcome to EisnerAmper’s technology podcast series. With more than five hundred technology clients, we’re always interested in the latest industry trends and developments, as well as any related business and accounting opportunities and challenges. Today’s topic is using drones to increase crop yields. I’m your host, Dave Plaskow, and with us today is Dave Katz, senior manager in EisnerAmper’s technology and life sciences practice. We like to call this TechTalk. Dave, welcome, and thanks for being here.
Dave Katz: Thanks for having me Dave.

DP: So, Dave, I think our listeners know by now that we’re a pretty drone friendly podcast. What have we got today?
DK: I’d say we are… So, we’re looking at a drone start up, Aerobotics, which is using its drones to help farmers in South Africa.
DP:Okay, tell us a little bit about the company.
DK:The company was founded by James Patterson who grew up on a farm in South Africa. He got a Masters in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT, and then founded the company from his garage with his partner, Benji Meltzer, and the company now has nearly two hundred clients in eleven countries, including here in the US.
DP:Nice. So, what do the drones do to help the farmers?
DK: The computers use the images taken by drones to predict information on crop health. They can pinpoint sections in the field that are underperforming due to disease, pests, drought, and lack of fertilization.
DP:And how much of an impact can these drones make?
DK:Aerobotics says that they can increase harvest by up to ten percent.
DP:Okay. Now Africa is a good proving ground for this particular type of technology, is it not?
DK:I would agree. Approximately sixty percent of the population live in rural areas that are heavily dependent on farming. The continent imports thirty-five billion dollars in food imports annually and additionally the African Development Bank is investing twenty-four billion dollars over the next decade in farming improvement initiatives.
DP:Okay. Now Aerobotics is certainly making people take notice, aren’t they?
DK:Yup. Leaders from the company recently participated in Google’s launch pad accelerator program.
DP:Excellent. What else have you been hearing about the drones sector lately?
DK:I mean they’re still in the news. Ohio wants to use drones to monitor highway traffic; Huntington Beach, California just greenlighted a project to use drones for public safety; the US Navy just ordered a project where drones will watch over marines in Afghanistan; and then you have MIT making micro drones, which will be the size of a honey bee, so continuing to evolve and obviously here to stay.
DP:Onward and upward with technology. Well, Dave, thanks for your expertise and this great insight.
DK: Thanks, Dave.
DP: And thank you for listening to TechTalk as part of the EisnerAmper podcast series. Visit EisnerAmper.com for more information on this and a host of other topics and join us for our next EisnerAmper podcast where we get down to business.

About John Pennett

John Pennett has public accounting experience with a strong emphasis on life sciences companies. Member New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants and New Jersey Technology Council and advisory board of eLabs.

* Required


More Podcasts in This Series

A 3D Printed Community
A 3D Printed Community

TechTalk discusses a new 3d printed community proposed in El Salvador by the nonprofit New Story and ICON construction. Icon and New Story debuted their 3D printed house at the Austin South by Southwest festival. Issues discussed include cybersecurity and valuation.

At-Home Genetic Testing Goes Beyond Just DNA
At-Home Genetic Testing Goes Beyond Just DNA

Life Science Partner Dave Katz discusses the new 23andMe DNA testing kit for breast cancer BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations approved by the FDA, and what it means for the biotech industry. The FDA approved 23andMe DNA breast cancer test increases access to health care information.

Amazon Stays Busy
Amazon Stays Busy

TechTalk examines Jeff Bezos' new possible Amazon facility cities of Austin, New York City, Washington DC and Atlanta, with Atlanta being Dave Katz' first pick. They also discuss Amazon Go, and Amazon's healthcare initiative with Berkshire Hathaway.

Apple Watch EKG
Apple Watch EKG

EisnerAmper’s technology podcast discusses the first FDA approved EKG band for the Apple Watch. Dave Katz of the Technology and Life Sciences practice discuses these new medical devices, their use of artificial intelligence and the cybersecurity issues surrounding them.

Technology Potpourri
Technology Potpourri

EisnerAmper’s technology podcast discusses related business and accounting opportunities with the senior manager in its Technology and Life Sciences practice about Uber, drones, internet providers and net neutrality, IPOs, AI and the R&D credit that may expire next year.

Is AI Destined to Replace Fund Managers?
Is AI Destined to Replace Fund Managers?

Is AI Destined to Replace Fund Managers? This episode of TechTalk talks about the first ETF powered by artificial intelligence (AI), the technology behind it, if it impacts a fund’s expense ratio and, most importantly, how it’s performing.

Looking into Facial Recognition Technology
Looking into Facial Recognition Technology

It was a milestone when Facebook implemented facial recognition software in 2010. The iPhone X has put a renewed spotlight on facial recognition technology. EisnerAmper’s Technology and Life Sciences Manager discusses security issues surrounding facial recognition technology.

Supersonic Air Travel Coming Back with a Boom
Supersonic Air Travel Coming Back with a Boom

Supersonic air travel is coming back with a boom. What does today’s market look like for supersonic air travel and how are start-ups such as Boom and Aerion navigating the many challenges? Also discussed is mergers and acquisitions and the need for valuations.

Is Roomba Vacuuming Up Data on Your Home?
Is Roomba Vacuuming Up Data on Your Home?

Is iRobot’s Roomba automated vacuum collecting consumer data that will be offered to technology companies to enhance internet of things devices? Here is what information is being collected, potential data privacy and security issues, and iRobot’s response to consumer concerns.

Tesla Gets Chinese Backing
Tesla Gets Chinese Backing

Tesla has received a significant investment from Chinese tech giant Tencent. This podcast discusses what Tesla plans to do with the cash infusion, Tencent’s ownership stake and how this could help both companies enter the highly coveted self-driving car market.

Amazon's Acquisition of Dubai Based E-Commerce Company Souq.com
Amazon's Acquisition of Dubai Based E-Commerce Company Souq.com

Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bazos just passed Warren Buffet to become the second wealthiest person on the planet. In Technology M&A news, Amazon competes with Alibaba by buying Dubai based Souq in a battle over E-commerce in the middle east, as reported by EisnerAmper’s Life Sciences Practice.

The Market for Tech Talent
The Market for Tech Talent

With retiring baby boomers some of the fastest growing jobs in technology attracting tech talent are located in New York City, San Francisco, Austin and Seattle. Tech talent can come from non-traditional backgrounds and there is strong hiring growth in hubs such as New York City.

Amazon Go Wants to Streamline Your Grocery Shopping
Amazon Go Wants to Streamline Your Grocery Shopping

Amazon Go wants to streamline your grocery shopping. This podcast discusses Amazon’s plan to use 'Just Walk Out Technology' to change food shopping. A look at the technology behind Amazon Go, potential speedbumps and what it could mean for bricks-and-mortar grocery chains.

Being Taken For a Ride – The Self-Driving Car
Being Taken For a Ride – The Self-Driving Car

David in EisnerAmper’s Technology and Life Sciences Practice, gives a “state of the union” on self-driving cars, an overview of Uber’s unique experiment in Pittsburgh, and a glimpse of what we can expect in the marketplace over the next few years.

Biotech Faces a Real Estate Shortage
Biotech Faces a Real Estate Shortage

This episode of TechTalk we discuss the commercial real estate shortage for the nation’s biotech sector. Life science and biotech companies in hubs like Boston and San Fran are seeking out real estate in the suburbs in order to afford space to expand their businesses.

Hyperloop Could Take People from LA to SF in 35 Minutes
Hyperloop Could Take People from LA to SF in 35 Minutes

This Life Sciences and Technology podcast talks about the space-age technology called the Hyperloop. The Hyperloop could take people from LA to San Francisco in 35 minutes, and was originally conceived by Elon Musk. Hyperloop One is the first company to develop the technology.

Is the Commercial Drone Market Ready for Takeoff?
Is the Commercial Drone Market Ready for Takeoff?

David discusses the commercial drone market, including how the FAA will regulate pilot licenses, drone use in real estate, Amazon's use of drones for future deliveries, the VC market and M&A strategies for companies interested in investing in drone technology.

Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality

David discusses virtual reality including Facebook's acquisition of Oculus, HTC's Vive and revenue recognition that comes from virtual reality technology. HTC has created the Vive X Fund and Facebook has created a similar fund to help develop virtual reality software.