Rabobank-MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize had nominations and some interesting prize winners this year. The winners are very good at what they do, and since the solution they bring is irresistible, one of the judges decided to partner with the team.
Every year, there is a prize given to companies in the food production industry. This year. The award went to the company that seeks to improve sanitation in food production plants with a robotic drone, called Drobot. It flies through facilities, spraying soap and disinfecting. The company is Human Dynamics.
According to the Human Dynamics team, the product addresses major labor shortages for food production facilities by carrying out everyday sanitation processes.
The sanitation processes often occur every night, and according to what Human Dynamics reveal, they are often labor-intensive and expensive. Okamoto claims the average large food manufacturer spends $13 million on sanitation annually. Experts also said that if the time spent on sanitation processes is added to production and delays due to human error, Human Dynamics estimates that it is up to an $80 billion problem.
For the sanitation processes, Human Dynamics makes use of a quadcopter drone that carries a tank, nozzle, and spray hose. The drone uses visual detection technology to validate that each area is clean.
The drone is designed to automate repetitive tasks while complementing other cleaning efforts done by humans. Although the drone is hardworking, humans will still be needed for certain aspects of cleaning and other tasks like preparing and inspecting facilities during sanitation.
Human Dynamics already has several proofs of concept. The company is also planning to run a pilot project with a local food producer and distributor this year.