PATS! The sound (in Dutch) that your hands make when swatting an insect pest such as a mosquito. That may work well enough in an office, but it’s a different matter if your workplace is a greenhouse covering several hectares and the insect pests are threatening to destroy your precious crop. Fortunately, the drones from PATS Indoor Drone Solutions are well equipped to take on the task of combating harmful insects in the greenhouse horticulture sector. Completely autonomously and with no chemical insecticides. Bram Tijmons, co-founder of PATS, is a firm believer in the added value of tiny drones to aid the growers. “The grower can concentrate on what he is good at: growing.”
Making an impact couldn’t be more literal: a drone that flies up to an insect and makes mincemeat of it with its rotating propellers. The PATS system is modular, comprising a small (7x7cm) drone, a charging station and a camera system. The camera monitors its surroundings 24/7 and is armed with smart, self-learning Artificial Intelligence (AI) software. The more data input the software receives, the better it can inform the growers about the insect pests and the drones can do their work. “You need to first know your enemy, then you can fight it effectively,” Bram explains.
Out of hand
Bram, the type that finds it easy to start up a conversation, explains enthusiastically: “One summer night my two co-founders, my brother Sjoerd Tijmons and friend and colleague Kevin van Hecke, came up with the idea of using drones to combat insects, when they were being kept awake by a mosquito. They were prompted by the thought: we work with drones, let’s use drones as a solution. It all began as a bit of fun, but the project soon got out of hand. That sort of pioneering, tinkering away in a basement on something totally new, that suits me well.”