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Raven to Grow Its Autonomy Platform

Since 1978, Raven Industries, Inc. has created, defined, and redefined precision agriculture. Its technology not only reduces costs through more precise application but it also steers equipment in the field, wirelessly connects the field and the office, and promotes environmental stewardship with controlled outputs. Through these application and machine control platforms, the South Dakota-based company has helped farmers maximize their operations’ efficiencies. 

As skilled labor decreases and compliance requirements become more complex, Raven has announced it is expanding these core offerings through its Raven Autonomy platform. By growing its autonomous solutions, it will continue to provide farmers with technology that will help them more efficiently manage their resources.

“The strength of our market position and technology offerings has never been greater than it is today,” says Dan Rykhus, chief executive officer and president of Raven Industries. “Now is the time to leverage our position in this expanding market in order to drive significant growth in company performance over the long term — and we couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities in front of us.”

A Growing Market

Over the next five years, experts project the autonomous technology market to develop rapidly. By building on its existing machine control technology, while also innovating smart machine platforms/implements, Raven Autonomy wants to position its Applied Technology division to be the leader in helping farmers achieve fully autonomous solutions across their entire farming operation.

“To fully realize our growth potential, increased investment is needed across this area, and we are in a great position to capitalize on this market opportunity,” Rykhus says. “We have been investing in R&D, production capabilities, strategic acquisitions, leadership development, and a new enterprise resource planning software for quite some time — and now we are going to invest further. Together, these provide a solid foundation for executing this bolder strategy.”

Currently, Raven’s VSN visual guidance technology, and RS1 machine guidance and steering platform are used around the world. Autonomy in agriculture is an extension of Raven’s Slingshot communication and servicing platform, which ag retailers have used for more than a decade. 

Autonomy also requires trusted implement performance and application control, like Raven’s Rate Control Module (RCM) and Hawkeye Nozzle Control System, and boom-control technology platforms, like AutoBoom XRT and AccuBoom. Each of these elements are important components of a successful autonomy strategy.

Going forward, the company plans to increase its research and development investment in the automation of its existing products and build out the necessary added technology through a combination of internal development, acquisitions, and partnerships. Throughout the entire process, Raven will focus on perception, path planning, and machine controls for its autonomous solutions.

“Raven has been investing in the necessary enabling components for autonomy in agriculture for 20 years,” Rykhus says. “Along the way, others have had unsuccessful attempts at initiating autonomy in agriculture; however, neither the technology nor the market were ready. The necessary technology to enable autonomy in agriculture is ready, and the inflection point is here.”

Through its legacy platforms, new technologies, and strategic partnerships, Raven believes it offers a distinct advantage over the competition and wants to lead the next revolution in precision agriculture.

“Now we need to aggressively invest to bring our solutions to market — and to capture this tremendous opportunity,” he says. “We believe we are in the lead position on the path to fully autonomous solutions for agriculture. Now, more than ever, our strategic OEM partners need to deliver premier precision agriculture solutions in order to compete and win market share. Investing to expand our advantage is essential to remaining the trusted innovator in precision agriculture.”

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