‘Scarecrow’ drone’s flies to European Parliament
Finnova Foundation, a non-profit organisation that gives support to innovation-oriented start-ups and SMEs, has showed one of its most revolutionary projects at the European Parliament: a biomimetic drone developed by the Spanish firm Kowat.
The innovative design presentation took place at the Smart Farming and New Technologies Conference, an event held by the Members of the European Parliament platform EU40, focusing on the future of agriculture.
The ‘scarecrow’ drone was described as one of the numerous applications of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). ‘Biomimetic drones from Kowat offer real solutions to the agricultural sector, and Spain is producing innovations aimed to boost the drone industry at the global level,’ said Finnova General Director Juan Manuel Revuelta.
The drone industry has captured special attention from Spanish entrepreneurs in recent years. Currently, Spain has around 1700 licensed operators approved by the State Agency for Aviation Security (AESA; in 2014 there were only 40), more than 2200 pilots and 70 schools. Interestingly, the number of Spain-based drone companies grew from 500 to more than 1500 in the last years.
Always staying ahead of the curve, Kowat was created over a decade ago, when its research team studied animal behaviour and psychology. The results were used to develop an autopilot drone that can keep crop-eating birds away from crops.
One of the strengths of this drone is that it has no environmental impact and does not harm birds. It delivers 90% pest control efficiency, does not rely on lethal methods, and protects biodiversity by avoiding the use of nets and mesh fabrics where birds can get tangled, be suffocated or die from lack of food.
Kowat is a good example of innovation applied to the agricultural business. The company gets support from the European Smart Specialisation Platform RIS3, the CSIC Biological Station at Doñaña Park, Tecnalia and the European Space Agency (ESA). It has been granted numerous awards, including the 2nd prize at European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC) 2016.
As a result of this multiple support, Kowat has been able to combine knowledge from a variety of fields – palaeontology, biology, computer science, mechatronics, aeronautics and aerospace science – to take major steps towards the global expansion of this new technology.