SMALL ROBOTS. BETTER THAN BIG TRACTORS
Small Robot Company is an agri-tech startup which is focused on harnessVisioning the power and precision of robots to improve the way that food is produced. We make farms more profitable, and increase yield and efficiency through using small robots instead of tractors. Our ‘precision farming’ technology is also much kinder to the soil, kinder to the environment, protects biodiversity and enables permaculture techniques at scale.
Our business is built on 15 years research by Professor Simon Blackmore at the National Centre for Precision Farming at Harper Adams University. The world’s leading expert on precision agriculture, his vision is that many of the jobs currently done by tractors in fields can be done at a lower cost, more accurately and with less waste by small robots. And it’s much, much kinder to the environment. What we have done is to take this technology, work with farmers to understand how it can answer their needs, and make this into reality.
We offer our robots through a Farming as a Service (FaaS) model, which is both a hardware and a software service for farmers. Farmers pay a per hectare subscription fee for a robotic hardware service which digitises the farm, and delivers crop care at per-plant precision. This also means they no longer have to worry about buying, storing or maintenance of most crop care machinery and equipment.
We are a farmer led, farmer focused business. We have designed our service offering following detailed face to face interviews with over fifty farmers. We know how farms are operated, how farmers think, the levels of support that farm businesses need and the pricing levels that are realistic. Our seed funding has come from farmers, and when we are ready for our next fundraising round we intend to open it solely to farmer customers. This is to help ensure that we always remain focused on the individuals and the businesses who are using our services.
We have been developing our hardware, software and service offering throughout 2017. Our first prototype robot is now built and successfully working; field trials are currently in progress in farms in Shropshire; and we are currently building the world’s detailed living data model for our AI software to exploit. We are formally launching the company in October 2017, with a view to starting commercial work in October 2018.
The first crop we are going to focus our service on is wheat. We have our first customers signed up to use our services from October 2018.
We are committed to helping solve the challenges that increased use of robotics brings to the rural economy, including changing the nature of jobs and the economy. We have therefore set up the Small Robot Foundation to help solve the challenges that increased use of robotics might bring to the rural economy. Our first initiative is an apprenticeship scheme starting in October 2018 with xxx uni. We are also committed to working to explore the longer term potential of precision farming to radically improve food production.
Feeding the world, three small robots at a time.