In trying to set up a fertilizer machine for an agribusiness company, I realize there are obstacles that come about when trying to make all the components work; especially when trying to incorporate components that are used and not supported by tech support. What connectors do you need? How do valves, flow meters, and modules hook up with each other and interact? It’s kind of like trying to heard cats in a tornado.
After thinking about this a while (sitting on my butt in a combine and going around in circles) I realized that in starting a new business and attempting to bring a brand new product to the market, there needs to be simplicity for a user. Yes I will say it should be “so easy a caveman can do it!” Well, it should be at least easy enough for a farmer or other people in the field. Not only does a product need to be simple to work with during setup and the initial “first date”, but it needs to do the job properly.
The UAS I am prototyping is a great example. What needs to be simple for the end user and how should it function properly for commercial use? What should the payload be and what should it be made of? By asking these questions, hopefully we can avoid having trouble with tech support and customer dissatisfaction later on.
So how can a new product such as a UAS fit in with traditional equipment, software and thinking? By using the SWAG method (Scientific Wild Assed Guess) it can work. Currently yield monitors are providing the information needed to determine production zones, to vary the rate of fertilizer, and to show where weeds are at. Although it is great information and can be utilized on any farm, it is reactive information. A UAS can provide timely information that can be utilized during the growing season.
By understanding the intricacies of current precision ag equipment and uses, a UAS can be made to work in harmony. Now I’m not gettin’ sappy and singing around the campfire, but this type of scenario has led us to where we are at today. Build the better mouse trap.
Where does that leave us? I continue to work on understanding what is currently being used, what is needed, and how the end product should perform. That darned ol’ thing called money crops up and I am trying to get enough to go into production. In the mean time I am gathering the information necessary to come out of the gate running with hopefully a product that will fit the bill.
Until next time,