Drones, a Farmer’s New Best Friend?

July 11, 2018

apple podcasts.png  google play.png  spotify.png  iheart.png

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 is the Partner-in-Charge of the National Technology and Life Sciences Group, and is a member of the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) services team. H


More in This Series

Lessons Learned from the Theranos Dissolution
Lessons Learned from the Theranos Dissolution

A senior manager in EisnerAmper’s Technology and Life Sciences practice, talks about the rise and fall of Theranos. He explains what took them from biotech unicorn to dissolution, the fallout, and how companies and investors can mitigate risk.

Ride Sharing Capped in NYC
Ride Sharing Capped in NYC

In this episode of the Dave & Dave Show, we look at New York City’s proposed annual cap on the number of ride-sharing vehicles, such as Uber and Lyft, and the larger implications for this unique urban initiative.

New Cryptocurrency Focuses on Price Stability
New Cryptocurrency Focuses on Price Stability

Cryptocurrency still has the reputation for significant price swings. In this episode of the Dave & Dave Show, we look at a new contender—with some big backers—that’s tied to the U.S. dollar to help temper that volatility.

A 3D Printed Community
A 3D Printed Community

In this episode of TechTalk, we look at a 3D-printed housing community for needy families in El Salvador, the goals are, some of the attached business issues, and how this could be a technological game-changer for affordable housing.

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

The Dave and Dave Show looks at 23andMe’s DNA test-taking kit, its recent approval by the FDA to scan for certain breast cancer genes, where the market is headed, and what it means for the biotech industry and its business advisors.

Amazon Stays Busy
Amazon Stays Busy

TechTalk examines a few interesting things Amazon is up to on its march toward global e-tail domination, such as its choosing a city for its new headquarters, its foray into health care, Amazon Go and more.

Apple Watch EKG
Apple Watch EKG

This episode of TechTalk, we cover a unique, FDA-approved EKG device for the Apple Watch. We’ll discuss the science and the business behind this promising new technology, as well as how the market for smart watches is doing.

Technology Potpourri
Technology Potpourri

In this final TechTalk podcast of 2017, we examine the technology headlines that caught our attention toward the end of the year, including net neutrality, the data hack at Uber, some misbehaving drones and what might be on the menu for 2018.

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

In this episode of TechTalk, we talk about the debut of the world’s first ETF powered by artificial intelligence (AI). We discuss 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

The iPhone X has put a renewed spotlight on facial recognition technology. Dave Katz gives us a history on this type of technology, some of the privacy and security issues, what the market looks like and which companies are leading the charge.

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

In this episode of TechTalk, we discuss the technology and financing issues related to the possible return of supersonic air travel.

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

Will the robot vacuum collect customer household data and offer it 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

In this episode of TechTalk, Dave Katz tells us about electric car company Tesla receiving a significant investment from Chinese technology giant Tencent.

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

TechTalk discusses recent mergers and acquisitions in e-commerce including Amazon's recent acquisition of Souq, a Dubai based e-commerce company.

The Market for Tech Talent
The Market for Tech Talent

With tech jobs are estimated to double over the next decade, we discuss the market for tech talent and what the forecast for tech employment looks like.

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

Dave Katz, Senior Audit Manager in EisnerAmper’s Technology and Life Sciences Practice, and Richard Colloca, Partner-in-Charge of EisnerAmper’s Food and Beverage Group, discuss Amazon’s plan to use 'Just Walk Out Technology.'

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

David Katz 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.

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

In this episode of TechTalk, we learn about the real estate shortage for biotech hubs, the challenges of obtaining new space, how early-stage companies are coping, and what’s on the drawing board to help alleviate the shortage.

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

In this episode of TechTalk, we discuss space-age technology that could revolutionize personal travel and commercial traffic.

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

David in EisnerAmper's Technology and Life Sciences Practice, discusses the commercial drone market, including potential markets, barriers to entry and where capital investment is headed.

Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality

We discusses some of the financial aspects of virtual reality, such as investment, valuation, revenue recognition and more.