My startup BUTTERFLY LLC will initially design and manufacture UAV/Drones for Harvesting. The Focus will be Remote Controlled and Unmanned Aerial Agricultural Technologies.
In the future, the company will expand its products by design and manufacturing of Spacecraft, Aircraft and Space Exploration Technologies.
For my startup’s agricultural harvesting UAV, I want the smallest UAV/Drones or even swarms of drones both remote controlled and autonomous. I want to use photogrammetry (fruit detection) and LIDAR (field detection) to create real time 3D scans of tomatoes (fruit & veggies) and the tomato farm and a customized AI algorithm to detect the fruit to be harvested based on the 3D scans. I want to explore other options like AR/VR or even mixed reality and maybe try creating a prototype of the UAV/Drone in collaboration. Another aspect is the UAV structural and control system design. I need AI based color detection to distinguish between ripe and unripe fruit. The UAV that I am planning to build will be very small like cell phones or a little bigger in size. I am looking for small cameras and lenses for my application. I also need a software interface for detection between ripe vs unripe fruit, autonomous grabbing and cutting, gripper and cutting mechanism functionality paired with the AI algorithm so as to work in sync, autonomous collision avoidance and obstacle detection and navigation software integrated with the UAV operation. Buy or build decisions (for both hardware and software) are still in work for the concept. My goal initially is to build a few prototypes in college and/or through joint venture industry collaborations (JV). Once a fully functional prototype is built, I can either hire employees or initially manufacture under JV and eventually have a separate business.
Attending various conferences like 3Ds, cloud computing and high-speed computing conferences, Automate 2020, commercial UAV, Matlab Expo, interphex 2022 to leverage existing technologies from the commercial marketplace. I believe in effectively leveraging ideas from other commercial industries to launch new technologies than to start from scratch. The cost, reliability and safety of an existing product with service record and used commercially might be better than completely new product. I am in the process of forming a team of suppliers, academic and industry collaborations to build prototypes through JV or other collaboration, grants and other funding. Still in process to find funding to build actual solid models and electrical and software design for the UAV.