Kiwi’s second newsletter
Welcome to Kiwi’s second newsletter
We also want to keep in touch with our customers, partners, and friends, so we’ll send messages like this out once a month highlighting a few areas, including:
Articles of interest - what we’re reading and why
Company updates - what’s happened since we last wrote
Helping out - what we need help with and how we can help you
We hope you’ll find these updates useful. If you do, or believe we should add something, please let us know.
Articles of interest
First, the fun stuff:
Climate change and agriculture - The USDA reported on the significant projected impact of climate change on US crop production, and the UN stated that worldwide agricultural land must become much more efficient to prevent runaway temperature increases. In response regenerative agriculture is making waves, and our neighbor Indigo has launched a carbon marketplace to incentivize farmers to capture carbon in their soils.
Drones deliver packages and people - Ehang is starting their first commercial deployment of passenger drones in Guangzhou, and while UPS is pushing full-steam ahead with drone deliveries, a crash in Switzerland paused delivery operations, highlighting the need for a new regulatory framework to support operations across fields, towns, and cities.
On the insect apocalypse - Multiple news sources, from the NYT, The Atlantic, and the WSJ have been reference an insect apocalypse, though exactly what's happening, and why, isn't clear. A number of scientists are pointing to neonicotinoids as culprits, leading to a ban in the EU on their outdoor use. Is the US next?
The Netherlands as a tech example - Did you know that the Netherlands, a country smaller than West Virginia, is the world's second largest (by dollar value) agricultural exporter (after the US)? Much of this productivity is attributable to greenhouses and technology adoption, which National Geographic details well.
Team expansion and hiring - Our team keeps growing. We're fortunate to have been joined by Max Gieraltowski, a recent Northeastern grad who is working on mechanical engineering, and Amanda Fowler, formerly of Autodesk, who is focused on manufacturing engineering. We're also looking for a few roles, including software engineers who can help us expose actionable insight from all of the data we're collecting, and field specialists who understand agronomy and application. If you are (or know someone who might be) interested, please reach out!
Product progress - Preliminary spray boom development is near complete. As you can see from the testing photo below, we're using industry standard Transland equipment paired with hefty pumps, tanks and hoses. Combined they're able to provide conventional volumes and proven spray patterns to our customers. It's an area we're very proud of, as it's a first for any unmanned system.
This fall we'll be starting with limited demonstrations near our headquarters in Massachusetts, then heading west to Northern California to illustrate our system. We'll swing down the coast and travel along the bottom of the country thereafter, passing through Texas, the Delta, and Florida. If you're receiving this, we'll be in touch as soon as we have our schedule locked down. However, we'd love to find those who would be willing to help us host local field days. The more customers we sign up in a geography, the sooner we can begin commercial service in the area. If you're open to hosting, please let us know!