Heroes

More Production, Less Contamination Using Agriculture Precision Technology

Auravant

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production Flourish Prize Finalist - For Business as an Agent of World Benefit - Weatherhead School of Management

Overview

The platform uses satellite images of the SaaS type (software as a service), giving advantages such as telemetry, traceability, and automatism. Traceability allows the remote measurement of physical quantities and the subsequent sending of information to the system operator. Traceability is a series of procedures that allow one to follow the process of evolution of a product in each of its stages. Automatism is the absence of intervention of external agents in the operation of a mechanism or in the development of a process. All of these processes applied to agriculture have transformed the field and added value, bringing what was thought to be the future into the present.

The user draws the location of the lots and the tool begins to obtain the satellite images, processes them and begins to calculate the vigor, yield, harvest rates and to detect the anomalies of the land and notifies the user by e-mail. This way, it manages the field permanently and remotely and / or online. In this way, having the necessary data, each hectare of the field becomes efficient, and consequently favors the economy and local development, and by maximizing the efficiency of inputs, we move towards sustainable agriculture.

The SDG that is involved in this case is "Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure".

Authors

María Evangelina Moal

María Evangelina Moal

Paula Casasola

Paula Casasola

School

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Professor

Aleandra Scafati

Aleandra Scafati

Innovation

In 2015 at Buenos Aires, Nicolás Larrandart (Auravant CTO) together with two other partners, engineers by profession, detected a niche in agriculture that was the need for a mapping service and data processing, which already existed, but separately. They saw that with their experiences and knowledge they could unite them in a tool and transform it into something simple to use.

Thus they created a technological company, aligned with the new business models, called Auravant (aura, because the three liked it and vant: unmanned aerial vehicle) that is, because at first they manufactured drones that made them fly to record the images .

In this way, agricultural producers are provided with a tool that transforms the data into useful information for decision making. This brings with it a saving in inputs achieving a positive impact on the environment.

More Production, Less Contamination Using Agriculture Precision Technology

Inspiration

Nicolas Larrandart is a young entrepreneur who decided to become independent and founded, together with a group of friends, a new company that is innovative for the market.

What Nicolas and his team detected is that the way of working in the Argentine countryside had innumerable opportunities for improvement. The farmers worked in a very intuitive way when making decisions without having real and reliable data. This generated a high inefficiency since many inputs such as seed, water or herbicides were wasted.

From the use of the data provided by the satellite images, now the producer can decide correctly on his lot, increasing the yields and saving inputs.

The platform is easy to operate and has a free "freemium" mode for small producers that can use it nowadays without needing specific resources and knowledge.

This empowers the agricultural producer without the need for third-party intervention in counseling.

Overall impact

The most important benefits from the use of the developed tool are directly related to the efficiency generated from precision agriculture, which has two aspects:

1. The environment: In the saving of inputs the environmental impact is reduced, by being able to calculate the exact quantity of products that each part of the field needs. This produces greater performance and reduces the uncertainty because there are times when a problem is not seen--and it is as harmful to have a problem as not knowing what you have. In this way the producer can go to the problem area to solve it as soon as possible. This translates into saving time and effectiveness. This has as a consequence a positive impact on the environment in the medium and long term, due to the efficient use of seeds, herbicides and water. The efficiency in the use of herbicides, benefits the environment and the general health of the community and the people who handle these products.

2. Improvement of the yield: as a consequence of the precision data where it is indicated where the land is more suitable, we could make a variable sowing and obtain better yield. This way many more producers are more efficient in their crops. Better crop production results in more food produced. At the societal level this is a commodity, and because more supply can lower prices and inject more food into the system, this technology results in a better chance of reaching the sectors in need with fewer resources.

Business benefit

In the first year of the company's launch, the company covered 2.3 million hectares, 6% of the total agricultural area in Argentina, and this is where the main users are. Noticing this great growth rate, they have expanded to Brazil, the USA and part of Europe. In Spain they are already in the advanced process of landing. Spain is an important market because it introduces the company to the European Union. If adopted in the EU, this has the potential to scale the business even more.

In the financial aspect, the company started with a gradual investment of the partners of US$ 50,000. Then, accelerators such as Wayra and Nxtp Labs, invested US$ 120,000 and US$ 250,000 respectively, from there was a round of investment was arranged with external investors, and it is expected to invoice US$ 200,000 by the end of the year.

Auravant currently has 12 employees where emotions are a fundamental part of the company to provide good customer service. The company is in the process of expansion in order to reach breakeven by 2019.

Auravant promotes actions in the educational field by giving conferences about technological advances in the agricultural sector and by offering internships for students to incorporate the latest in applied technology.

Social and environmental benefit

The change of paradigm in a business as traditional as agriculture is a challenge day by day. This is why Auravant is careful to offer a knowledge base that shows how the tool works and its advantages in a simple way. They want all those who need it to be able to use it and to lessen the technological barriers to using this service.

Auravant democratizes the use of the tool. "Everyone can use it for free."

The main SDG to which the project contributes is "Industry, innovation and infrastructure" in terms of democratization and simplification of the technologies applied to precision agriculture, generating a positive impact on the environment.

Interview

Nicolas Larrandart, CTO

Photo of interviewee

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Auravant

Auravant

Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires, AR

Business Website: https://www.auravant.com

Year Founded: 2015

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Auravant is a company of technological profile of the AgTech type, innovative in agriculture, dedicated to precision agriculture and focused on improving agriculture through the use of Big Data and Machine Learning. By analyzing several geo-referenced data of each square meter, gathering them on the same platform, and transforming that information obtained from the lots into useful data so that the producer and / or the agronomist can take actions that maximize their profits, reduce the uncertainty, save time and supplies, obtain higher yields and reduce the environmental impact.