We solve organic dairy farmers' weed problem with our drone assisted robots. Here, several robots are brought to a field. With the support of the drone, optimized paths can be calculated for the robots to drive to the individual sorrel plants (in the future also ragwort, autumn crocus and thistles) and control them mechanically.
We faced several (often unforeseen) challenges. The biggest ones were:
- Integration Hell: integrating hardware and software in complex robotics systems can be both, challenging and frustrating
- The challenge of the unknown: robotics is a complex field with numerous variables including hardware, software and even physics. Its so broad, that you often try to reinvent the wheel only because you don’t know that there is already a better solution out there.
- Space: Hardware development requires more space and specialized machines than software. Finding a suitable space to work was a huge challenge.
We encountered various unforeseen challenges during our robotics development journey. The most significant hurdles we faced were threefold:
- first, the daunting task of integrating complex hardware and software systems - often referred to as "Integration Hell."
- Second, the challenge of navigating the vast, multifaceted world of robotics, where variables like hardware, software, and physics make it difficult to know everything.
- We also faced a significant spatial challenge during hardware development, requiring specialized equipment and ample space for prototyping.
How VL helped us
During our early stages, the Venture Lab proved instrumental in supporting our growth. They provided us with an office and workshop space, available 24/7, which allowed us to work tirelessly on our robotic solutions. As we progressed and expanded, the venture lab was able to accommodate our needs with larger space.
The availability of high-quality machinery such as the bending machine and vertical band saw proved invaluable to us in our prototyping and production efforts.
An awesome feature was that we only needed to open the door to have access to fields where we could test our robots.
Beyond the tangible benefits of space and machinery, the venture lab provided us with invaluable "soft" opportunities, such as constant guidance, invitations to pitch at events, and a rich network of mentors and peers. Their support played a significant role in our success and remains deeply appreciated.
Advice for founders
If you're working on a hardware project, the venture lab is an excellent resource. Beyond providing a workspace, you'll have the opportunity to collaborate with fellow founders, access the makerspace, and unwind after a long day with a cold beer from the world's oldest brewery on the Amphore just outside the Venture Lab!