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drones4u customer insights

drones4u customer insights


Inky Collective

December 14, 2015


  1. drones4u - drones for precision agriculture customer insights VentureLab -

    Stanford /June’13
  2. Customer insights • Data gathered during several interviews with possible

    customers and partners • Customers (9 interviews): • Small farmers (7, US + Spain) • Agricultural engineers (1) • Fumigation company (1) • Total of 17 customers / key players • Partners and key-players (8 interviews) • US Congressmen & senators • Commercial pilot • Air controller • Aerospace engineer • Corporate representatives (4)
  3. Interview format • One to one interviews • Open ended

    questions: • Do you see our solution helping you manage your farm more efficiently? • What solution are you using? How effective it is? • Do you see yourself using this solution? • How much are you willing to pay? • What are your expectations of such a technology?
  4. Customer interviews: Farmer #1 (Navarra, Spain) • Organic farmer growing

    non-local herbs • Young farmers opened to new techniques, • Some of them using computerized irrigation and remote monitoring systems. • Some of them using precision agriculture • In his local area, nobody using drones for agriculture neither heard anything about it • Adoption process needs to be slow, farmers need time to accept new technologies • Currently, organizing a visit to their premisses to extend conversations
  5. Customer interviews: Farmer #2 (Washington DC, USA) • Drones are

    usually associated to military uses. • Strong sentiment against uses inside the country and privacy concerns • Drones + agriculture = Interesting, but maybe not required • Must be affordable (1000-5000$) • Use for irrigation, pesticide, seed planting, anything that can be done from air • Constant plant monitoring is not required
  6. Customer interviews: Farmer #3 (Washington DC, USA) • Mid-size farm,

    family run • Interested in irrigation due to high-failure rate of sprinklers • Constant crop monitoring can find problems before humans • Wanted a video feed • Programmed once, duty cycle lasting several weeks • Also interested in security monitoring • Higher budget (<50.000$) • Aware that is a nice to have, not a must to run the farm
  7. Customer interviews: Farmer #4 (Andalucía, Spain) • He considers using

    the technology, but not sure about its feasibility. • Mostly focused on pesticide spraying • Currently relying on visual inspection and fumigation tractor • Resilience to use new technology without a previous trial or success case • Alternatives to current solution must be cheaper • Price reduction is the main target, new functionality is clearly secondary
  8. Customer interviews: Farmer #5 (Andalucía, Spain) • Using visual inspection

    and fumigation planes • Mostly focused on pesticide spraying • Looks like a good idea, but he is concerned it may be more expensive • Not interested in using new technology: “I’m old and don’t know how to use a computer” • Any solution must be cheaper than the existing one • Expectations are focused on price reduction, period.
  9. Customer interviews: Farmer #6 (Andalucía, Spain) • Using visual inspection

    and fumigation tractors • Interested in the proposal (modern and good) • Even if interested, it is not willing to spend money on it. He rather use resources in something he can understand • Price reduction is a requirement • Expectations is based on price reduction and increase of benefits
  10. Customer interviews: Farmer #7 (Virginia, Spain) • 25+ acre farm

    • Never heard of uses of drones in civilian life. Associated to FBI and air strikes. • Currently, he hires inspectors every two months to inspect their crops • Like our proposal and the compactness of the design • Security concerns: like to use them, but must be un-hackable • Willing to pay <10,000$ • Believes, a solution like this will lower prices in the long term. • Aerial irrigation is also a desired functionality
  11. Customer interviews: Agricultural engineer (Extremadura, Spain) • Expert in fruit

    tree care and harvesting logistics • Interested in aerial imaging to determine when harvesting should occur • Fruit has to be harvested not when it is perfectly ripe but to account for the logistics • Determining the right degree of ripeness is key and based on sampling individual fruits • Scheduling does not take into account differences between different areas of the land • Drones could be used to get a detailed status of each individual tree or area • Pesticides: • They are always applied, not only when required or when a pest has been detected • Interested in reducing the dose and selectively application. • Drones useful for monitoring and pesticide delivery
  12. Customer interviews: Fumigation company (Andalucía, Spain) • Dedicated to fertilizer

    and pesticide spraying • Uses manual spraying, tractors and planes • Willing to test technology so he can offer it and help farmers • He expects farmers will resist adoption of unproven/risk/unseen technologies • An option is preparing a demonstration and training on the uses • People is always interested in reducing costs, margins are low • Thinking of expansion, drones could be a possible option for it
  13. Customer interviews: main takeaways Confirmed ideas • They strongly rely

    on proven technology with little innovation (fumigation tractor/plane) • Visual inspection is key to administering their fields • Farmers are price sensitive, as their margins are low • Farmers present strong concerns about replacing existing technology with unproven methods New learnings • Some of them have little exposure to technology in general (computers) • Most of them have never been exposed to drone technology or its uses. Training/trials/ evangelism is required. • Precision farming is mostly associated with pesticide spraying • Price reduction is the key factor for technology adoption
  14. Key-player interviews: US congressmen • Normative is highly dependent on

    the country and even the state • Legislation does not fully contemplate the use of civilian drones. In certain countries (US), does not allow for-profit operation of drones. • US Secretary of state is exploring options to expand technological advances into agriculture industry • Drones are welcome if they do not invade basic principles of human rights (Californian con.) • Other territories are reticent to the use of drones (Texas con.) • Drones for farming are a good idea, but other civilian uses need to be evaluated (NY con.)
  15. Key-player interviews: Commercial pilot (offshore oil rig) • Using drones

    for transportation of people and material, aerial imaging and mostly everything required • Challenges and pain points: • Helicopters are an overkill (expensive and ill-suited for some tasks) • Required to operate in dangerous situations • 1 hr of flight = 1500$ + maintenance • Licenses and training are difficult to obtain • Uses • Night flights • Close inspection in narrow or dangerous areas • Concerns of drones replacing professional pilots and getting part of their market share
  16. Key-player interviews: Aerospace industry engineer (Toulouse, France) • Interested in

    the project • Advises not to focus on a single use (image capture in agriculture). Possible incumbents. • Alternative uses of related technology: flood prevention & wild fire prevention • Current solutions rely on manned outposts with people surveying the forests • Seasonal requirement (summer time) • Concerns about quadmotors being unable to fly with strong winds (common in Spain and SW France) and battery life • Certification agencies will not accept vehicles using pre-planned paths or camera based remote piloting • Expectation of US senate and FAA will retrofit war-technology into agricultural uses
  17. Key-player interviews: Air controller (Spain) • Strong concerns about using

    drones in public aerospace • To share airspace, sense-and-avoid technology needs to be developed and certified: expensive and long process • Regulations are being developed, but it will take time • Possibility of using drones under 400ft, away from sensible areas, pilot has to maintain line-of-sight • Current operation is in a gray area: it is not against the law, it is not aligned with the law • Uses associated with military, security, observation, etc. will need to comply with stronger regulations • Suggested the idea of designing the solution based on the expectation of the regulation being developed.
  18. Key-player interviews: Corporate representatives (Spain) • 4 different representatives from

    the utilities (water, electricity), oil and supermarkets industries • Big companies are very conservative: even if they have have significant r&d budgets, they focus on improving current operations • Drones are associated with toys and war. Not aware of sensing or imaging solutions. • Possible applications: • Line, pipe and infrastructure inspection • With new designed sensors: utility meter reading to replace fixed communication lines • Indoor flying and security • Strong concerns about liabilities advises using unproven technology in densely populated areas
  19. Key-player interviews: main takeaways Confirmed ideas • Legislation and regulations

    are something to consider as it can forbid operation • Strong popular opposition to certain technologies • Price is very important, more than the functionality itself • Service providers are always in search of new services and better solutions, drones could be one of them New learnings • Drones as an enabling platform to improve harvesting • Other industries are also interested, but concerned about issues like public liability and accidents • Only option to reduce friction is training, demonstrations and ensuring cost is reduced
  20. Image credits http://www.redorbit.com/news/space/1932772/project_guides_european_farmers_from_space/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/photophilde/3514290419 (copyright photophilde) http://www.flickr.com/photos/darthfabry/6055848794 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Crops_Kansas_AST_20010624.jpg

  21. drones4u - drones for precision agriculture customer insights VentureLab -

    Stanford /June’13