While all agricultural and agro-industrial sectors are penalized by the cancellation of the 2021 edition of the Paris international agricultural fair and many other professional events, Covid-19 requires, Naïo Technologies, specializing in agricultural robotics can welcome a nice spotlight with the visit, this Thursday, March 4, of Julien Denormandie, Minister of Agriculture and Food.
The opportunity for the services of the State and of the Occitanie Region to announce the allocation of financial assistance, within the framework of the PIA 3 (Program of Investments for the Future), to support a new R&D project . The objective is to improve the performance of Dino, the robot intended for field gardening. “To maintain our lead in the international market, we must continue to widen the gap with our challengers“, emphasizes Matthias Carrière, commercial director of the company.
Always more precision and connectivity
The project will mobilize a budget of 1.2 million euros over twelve months, supported to the tune of 328,000 euros by the State and the Region, for 164,000 euros each. Code name: Persee (Perception for Salad And Spinach). “This involves working on the development on the robot of a disruptive operational solution for localized precision weeding, thanks to on-board artificial intelligence tools (supervision by the machine), in interaction with a monitoring system. remote human“, explains Marie-Luce Fournié, director of operations at Naïo Technologies. The key: always more precision and connectivity.
Already capable of weeding between the rows, Dino is called upon to get as close as possible to the plants. “Ultimately, our work also aims to work on data to move towards the management of fleets of robots. Our ambition is to be able to organize collaborative work with several robots on the same plot“, specifies Marie-Luce Fournié.
70 robots for 2021
Based in Escalquens, in the south-east of Toulouse, the company, one of the pioneers of agricultural robotics in France, has become in a few years an international benchmark. The company, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, markets three autonomous weeding and hoeing robots: Oz for diversified market gardening on small farms, Dino for large open-field farms and Ted, a straddle robot for work in the vineyards. .
To date, Naïo Technologies has a total of nearly 200 robots, in France and internationally. “It is to date the largest fleet of autonomous agricultural robots in the world“, insists Matthias Carrière. After a year 2020 a little complicated by the health constraints related to Covid, the company expects a turnover of just over 4 million euros for 2021. 70 robots should leave the workshops from Naïo Technologies this year.
Naïo Technologies currently employs 70 people, 80% of whom are based in Escalquens, where the company’s headquarters, its design offices, its assembly workshop and an experimentation site are located to develop its robots in real situations. The company also has an office in Angers and an office in California.