This post is part of our Future of Agriculture series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Aymeric Barthes, CEO and co-founder of Naïo Technologies.
1. What’s the history of Naïo Technologies? Where and how did you begin?
AB: Naïo Technologies is the result of the meeting between Gaëtan Séverac and Aymeric Barthes, both engineers in robotics. In 2010, Gaëtan went to the Asparagus festival in a small southern French village and here is where the idea of an agricultural robot came to him. Freshly graduated from the same school (IMERIR Perpignan) Gaëtan quickly speak to Aymeric about this project.
Aymeric wished to undertake, Gaëtan had detected needs. Thus, together, they catched the opportunity and launched Naïo Technologies in Toulouse in 2011. In November of this same year, the brand new company came up with finalized specifications for one of the first mechanical weeding robot dedicated to small vegetables growers.
2. What specific problem does Naïo Technologies solve? How do you solve it?
AB: Naïo is committed to answering to the huge present and future challenges of our environment. The company is willing to give solutions in order to produce more food, in a much more respectful way towards human and the environment.
To do so, Naïo Technologies is working on several projects around mechanical weeding robots, that will help the agricultural sector to, at least, reduce the use of chemical inputs and herbicides.
3. What’s the future of agriculture?
Prediction #1: Big scale farm for Agro-food industry (processed products, etc) and small, self-sufficient farms to meet the raw product needs around them.
Prediction #2: A less risky and painful work attached to more profitability due to the development of smart farming. (Robots, Sensors, Drones, Management software, etc.).
Prediction #3: Producing better by preserving people and the environment.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in agriculture?
Trend #1: Farming robot that totally changed the lives of breeders.
Trend #2: GPS and machine automation in fields (tractor, robot).
Trend #3: Sensors in general (detection of disease, weed, water analysis, analysis of the need for inputs of all kinds, etc.).
5. Why is the agriculture industry ripe for disruption?
AB: First, there is a general awareness for environmental issues which conduct to the willingness of decreasing the global environmental impact.
Then, because the demand concerning food is continuously increasing and that consumers wish to eat healthier.
Thirdly, because the job of yesterday’ farmers is not the same as today. Indeed, today’ farmers are looking for less painfulness farming solutions.
About Aymeric Barthes
Nature, in all its shapes and colors, is what makes me happy. Even as a child, I was fascinated by soil and farming. I even tried to start a snail farm when I was little (my first company!). I've always been convinced that passion and commitment are the only way to happiness and self-achievement. I'm a robotics engineer from the IMERIR school in France (66). When Gaëtan mentioned his agricultural robotics idea to me, it seemed only natural for us to create Naïo Technologies together. There was no doubt in my mind, this is what I wanted: to help nature by creating robots to alleviate. the farmers' hard work without polluting the environment. In short, Naïo Technologies is not a job for me, it's my passion and I live it to the full.”