When drones imitate nature

When drones imitate nature

ROBERTA SEBASTIANIMADRID Updated:03/01/2022 00:46h
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It's a bird, it's a plane... No, it's a drone that has taken the form of a bird of prey with a very defined objective: pest control. Behind this flying device is Kowat, a company for "research and development of biomimetic systems, of products based on nature," explains the company's founder, Paco Morente. This sustainable solution emerges from the observation and research of natural ecosystems, unmanned aerial vehicles that replicate the shape of different birds and are used especially in the field of agriculture and aquaculture, in orchards and fish farms, but can also spread their wings mechanics in other areas, for example, in airports.

"Fear is the most powerful weapon of all emotions, and it is innate," says Morente about the impact of these deterrent drones, while underlining why his company is the only one capable of offering these services: knowledge.

Both Villba and the project's co-founder, Ángeles Villaba, are experts in bird behavior. Their families have been dedicated to farming forever, and they have spent decades unraveling the biotopic laws that have governed nature for millions of years.

"It is important to know how bird pests are formed, this is not about burning batteries with a drone, going around, this does not work like that, it can even aggravate the problem," explains the company's scientific director. In Kowat they not only manufacture the bird of prey that is most afraid of the species to be controlled. To offer the service, factors such as the type of crop, light, wind, time of year and the flight patterns of both the drone or bird of prey manufactured and the species to be controlled, among other aspects, are also taken into account. The pest control process usually lasts an average of fifteen days.

The company was founded in 2016, and had the accolade of receiving the second world award from the European Space Agency (the first and only time for Spain).

Kowat is preparing not only to provide this service in the future, but also to sell its own drones. Buyers will be able to program and update them with the company's exclusive knowledge, in order to "evolutionally combat" these pests. To face this step, the company is preparing to open "an investment round of two million euros."

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