If we asked you what is the number one cross-platform, global phenomenon that is revolutionizing the technology market in its broadest sense, would you be surprised to learn that it is Disruptive Technology? Well, it is. Across the broadest possible spectrum of the various technological sectors, including AgriTech, the concept of disruptive technology is influencing more and more innovations and becoming a firm fixture on the landscape. Meet Skyx, who offer an exciting and highly innovative disruptive AgriTech technology. Skyx provides a cutting-edge, multiple robot drone-powered “swarm” approach that will transform crop-spraying as we know it. The beauty of Skyx’s software solution is in the word swarm – rather than using an individual drone controlled by one person to spray an entire area, Skyx enables an entire autonomous fleet, optimized according to terrain, crop type, pesticide and modular farming machinery.

Crop-Spraying as We Know it: Expensive, Imprecise and Inaccurate

The traditional methods of crop-spraying are extremely limited in terms of precision, efficiency, and safety. Planes, one of the most prevalent methods of traditional crop-spraying, is problematic. Planes cannot spray at night or in fog, and mountainous terrain and farmland areas near obstacles and boundaries make spraying prohibitive due to lack of access. Medium to small fields are also a no-no due to their design, and the need for spray-on-demand is not guaranteed. Above and beyond all of this is the issue of health and safety for pilots, ground crew, and the environment around indiscriminately sprayed pesticides and chemicals. Conventional farm tractors used for spraying are limited when it comes to accessing many different types of crops due to issues of varying terrain, plus a single occurrence of heavy rainfall can cause sufficient waterlogging to make the area completely impassable. Individual back-pack carrying one-person crop-sprayers are perhaps identified as the least effective of the traditional methodologies, given the inability of a single person to work fast, 24/7, or to guarantee 100% coverage, and especially to be able to provide adequate damage control in the face of an agricultural catastrophe.

The Ultimate Crop-Spraying Game Changer

Skyx’s software solution offers a radically different approach to crop-spraying, guaranteed to revolutionize weed, pest and blight control. Using Skyx’s solution to enable a modular swarm of autonomous spraying robots, rather than a single drone, means that rather than broadly spraying an entire area of farmland, with a solitary person responsible for the operation, the spraying can be effected precisely and accurately, optimized according to the specific terrain, crop, pesticides, and machinery. The concept is a multi-platform ecosystem, meaning that any type of drone can be controlled by a single software solution. In practical terms, this means that multiple drone robots of a variety of hardware types can be managed simultaneously, working effectively and in unison.

The pure groundbreaking innovation of the Skyx solution, and one of its key assets, lies in the ability to spray specific “hot spots” directly, rather than indiscriminately spraying across the entire area of farmland. This is an ability unique to the Skyx swarm technology, which demonstrates exactly how it improves over conventional manual operations; the granularity offered by this innovation is simply impossible to achieve using standard large farm machines (planes and tractors).

Furthermore, Skyx’s solution works on both micro and macro levels. Unexpected catastrophes requiring on-demand spraying – for example, a sudden infestation of a specific crop by pernicious pests – cannot be handled effectively when using traditional methods. However, the modular swarm of autonomous robot drones are consistently available, and able to swiftly and effectively deal with the problem at the mere touch of a button. Furthermore, the economic conundrum of growing more crops but using fewer resources meant that an industrial alternative to the current traditional methods of spraying operation had to be found. Which is precisely what Skyx is offering.

Crop-Spraying of the Future: Cost-Effective, Precise, Safe, and Available 24/7eylon sorek - skyx

The value proposition of Skyx’s precise agricultural solution is fourfold. First and foremost, Skyx’s solution has been designed to enable spraying at prices that are 50% lower than the current benchmark. Skyx also operates at an accuracy level of mere meters, with a granularity of only a few centimeters. When it comes to availability, the comparison of Skyx’s offering with more conventional methods is literally night and day. The drone swarm can operate during the day or night, over complex terrain, regardless of weather conditions, and close to trees, antennas, pylons and electric wires, fences and so on. Additionally, the drone swarm enables better safety and health, since humans are not exposed to dangerous chemicals, and the crops are sprayed according to precise configuration of the Skyx solution.

Where it Came From, and Where it’s Going

According to Skyx’s Eylon Sorek, the idea for Skyx came from a wish to introduce disruptive technology to a large and traditional / legacy market; focusing on reducing human inefficiency, and increasing cost-effectiveness. The crop-spraying industry seemed the perfect fit for Skyx, as it was, in Eylon’s words, “a clear opportunity to do things the right way”.

Going forward, Skyx foresees the gradual redundancy of crop-spraying planes and tractors. The concept of “bigger and better” farm machines will eventually become obsolete, and be replaced by an optimized system of relatively small, smart, and cheap robot drones which work effectively together to create Precision Agriculture, using disruptive technology.

Tamar Weiss leads the Ag-Food-Tech sector at Start-Up Nation Central. As part of her work, she leverages knowledge and analysis of the Israeli Ag-Food-Tech ecosystem to foster its growth and help it fulfill its potential towards offering meaningful and relevant solutions to one of the most pressing global challenges today. Prior to her current position, Tamar managed the Cyber-Security and Fintech sectors at Start-Up Nation Central. Holds a B.A. in Philosophy, Political Science & Economics (PPE) from the Hebrew University (cum laude).

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