FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Drones and the agricultural supply chain
DETAILS: AgEagle is a U.S.-based manufacturer of drones, providing clients with custom applications for those drones. Michael Drozd talks with FreightWaves’ John Kingston about the competitive landscape for drone manufacturers, the agricultural uses that were in the company’s origins and where he sees drone use for parcel deliveries headed.
SPEAKER: Drozd is AgEagle’s CEO.
BIO: Drozd assumed the role as AgEagle’s CEO in May 2020. He previously served as CEO of Hemp Companies, renamed RYTE. RYTE’s holdings include a sizable hemp farm as well as a major CBD extraction and ag processing facility, along with an IP portfolio. During his tenure, Drozd launched RYTE Brands as a diversified portfolio of CBD companies through acquisitions, including RYTE’s first acquisition, Moksha Chocolate.
Drozd has also served as president of Eurofins AgBio Division, a global business focused primarily on testing for the agriculture sector with an emphasis on genetic analyses; chief operating officer at Arbiom, a French biotechnology company; and president and CEO of Aseptia/Wright Foods.
KEY QUOTES FROM DROZD:
“Drones have the ability to get up above the farm and also use very, very powerful sensors in cameras essentially to see the farm in a different way. What this allows the farmer to do ultimately is to improve their efficiency and get better yields. It helps with crop health, seeing areas where there’s damage to the crop, mapping, pest control.”
“Regulations are rapidly evolving. If you ask me to forecast what it’s going to look like over time, I can’t tell you. There are drones that use very heavy cargo today, and there are drones that use very small cargo, but there’s really an evolution on the FAA’s side in terms of what’s going to be allowed and what’s not going to be allowed over time.”
“The idea of getting a pizza [with a drone is a] great idea but probably not [where] the economics need to be short term. In the short term, it’s really those higher-value, mission-critical health needs, if you will, that are really going to be pushing forward. [But] in the end, as you get closer to full autonomy, it starts to push the envelope.”