Modern agriculture requires advance tools and firms like Pyka and DroneSeed are developing for it. Pyka takes on the largely human-powered spray business with an autonomous winged craft and regulatory approval.
The firm recently generated an $11 million seed round led by Prime Movers Lab with participation from Y Combinator, Greycroft, Data Collective, and Bold Capital Partners. The company’s founding team included Michael Norcia, Chuma Ogunwole, Kyle Moore and Nathan White.
This spraying business requires flying very close to the ground which is risky for pilots. This is because it involves repetitive flight patterns that have to be perfectly executed, over and over. Though others have tried this with autonomous crafts, Pyka’s approach is different. Usually Manufacturers tend to use multirotor craft for their maneuverability and easy take off/landing but those can’t carry off the large volume of the pesticides and other chemicals that need to be deployed at large scales.
Pyka uses a more traditional resembling one-seater crop-dusting plane that lacks a cockpit. It is controlled by a trio of propellers with most of the interior space given over to the payload. There is a sensing suite and an onboard computer that handles the demands of the automated flight. The plane can take off or land on a 150-foot stretch flat land so you don’t need to worry about a runaway.
The plane, apparently called the Egret can spray about a hundred acres per hour which is the same as a helicopter. Except it has more precision as well as no risk for human life. But that’s not the biggest point of Pyka. The feds don’t mind it and claim to be the only company in the world with a commercially approved large autonomous electric aircraft.
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