French field robot manufacturer Naïo Technologies aims to accelerate its international growth by launching a new Robots as a Service (RaaS) business model.
This year, field robot manufacturer Naïo Technologies has been testing its RaaS model with a fleet of 7 Dino weeding robots. A number of U.S. growers in Salinas, California, are using Naïo’s Dino robots based on the RaaS model. According to the robot manufacturer, with this model growers are are seeing profitability from the very first day thanks to a starting cost significantly lower than that of purchasing a Dino.
With the RaaS model, Naïo Technologies takes care of everything: mapping, transport, management and monitoring of the robot on the farm. The company’s technicians operate the robots directly in the growers’ fields. The grower pays a price per acre, depending on the crops and the duration of the contract. According to Julien Laffont, Strategy & Business Development Manager at Naïo Technologies, the price for RaaS starts at 120 USD/acre and can go up to 300 USD/acre.
After Salinas, the Dino robots will be moving on to Yuma, in Arizona. “The success of RaaS in America is therefore driving us to actively pursue the conquest of this new business model for 2022,” says Naïo. To do this, the manufacturer of agricultural robotics is seeking to launch new types of partnerships (retail, franchises, R&D etc.) in the United States at first, in order to respond to growing demand, and also in all other countries where there is real potential.
Julien Laffont says there is worldwide potential for RaaS, however the company will start expanding this business model in the U.S. and in Western Europe in 2022, and in Australia in 2023. Although Laffont says there is no minimum acreage required, the company does advise to have the robots work on at least 10 acres per week in order to make RaaS make sense financially.
The RaaS business model, which is now avalaible for the Dino weeding field robot, will be expanded to the Ted weeding robot. It’s second version was unveiled in September 2020. 12 of these electric weeding robots for vineyards are in use in France. Like with Dino, Naïo is therefore seeking new partnerships (retail, franchises, R&D etc.) in France and internationally.
The launch of RAAS for Ted robots is scheduled for January 2022 onwards. According to Naïo A Ted robot will soon be leaving for the United States, where it will begin providing its first services in California.
Almost 10 years ago, Naïo Technologies introduced Oz, a multi-task and multi-crop field robot which is 100% autonomous thanks to RTK GPS. Oz is able to make furrows, sow seed, hoe, weed in the row and between rows, help with harvesting and even transport loads thanks to a variety of adaptable and interchangeable tools. 150 robots are sold worldwide, according to Naïo.
Oz is currently covering a wide range of crops: garlic, onions, carrots, salad crops, spinach, celery, sweet peppers, cabbage, squash, wicker, vine nurseries, ornamental nurseries, cut flowers, seed production, herbs and more. The robot has been sold in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Canada, the United States and New Zealand.
Naïo Technologies is now actively seeking to introduce Oz into other countries through new retail partnerships. Making Oz’ versatility evolve is also among future objectives. A whole range of tools to help the planting and maintenance of vegetative cover will be easily adaptable on the robot, says the company.