Le booster season 5 : Agriviz

Images captured and analysed directly from fields 

Technology is really changing the way professionals in the agricultural sector work. And Aurélien Yol is looking forward to being part of this digital revolution with his project: Agriviz.

Cutting-edge in terms of technology yet easy to understand, Aurélien Yol’s idea goes hand in hand with this digital trend that is breathing new life into farming by setting up cameras in fields to then analyse the images and alert farmers if necessary: Agriviz will save them precious time. And much more.

From INRIA (French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control) to Le Booster

Aurélien Yol is an engineer at INRIA in a team specialising in computer vision: “my project ties in with what we were doing as a team, in partnership with this organisation. I was working in the agricultural sector on crop and livestock production optimisation. We were hoping to detect very early on when illnesses or pests (insects, butterflies) are attacking crops or livestock”.

Aurélien offered his laboratory for a start-up project in 2016: “we were focusing on the agricultural sector by choice and because the opportunity arose, as a sector undergoing a significant digital transformation. But these technologies can easily be adapted to other sectors. At INRIA, we were also working in the aviation and medical sectors.

So what is Agriviz’s objective? Greater reactivity to minimise losses and end certain repetitive tasks thanks to automated alerts: “today, crops and livestock are starting to be equipped with boxes and cameras: farmers connect via their personal space and look at the images. This already reduces their need to travel. But our idea is that they shouldn’t have to spend time in front of a computer analysing images. Analysis will be automated and they will receive alerts only when necessary.”

Le Booster is raving about the projects… and for good reason!

At the outset of Agriviz, Aurélien was interested in every aspect of production optimisation, but was not necessarily targeting the correct issues: “instead I wanted to help farmers harvest at the correct time by detecting when crops were ripe, but in reality this is not a key issue in terms of losses for farmers. So I changed my position after talking with the target about its needs.”

It was INRIA, then Rennes Atalante, that guided the young entrepreneur towards Le Booster: “I was in an extremely exploratory phase. I had a technical background but shortcomings in terms of entrepreneurship. And I was alone! Le Booster put me in touch with my future partner and business developer Alban Pobla as well as a company that manufactured the boxes we needed in fields”.

The Business Model is yet to be defined, but Agriviz should work with a flat-rate subscription for image analysis: “next we’re hoping to develop towards vision sensors. In fields, there’s no access to very powerful energy or high-performance networks to transmit and analyse the images. We will no doubt converge towards a BM where we sell sensors with on-board analysis so that it is no longer necessary to convey video flows: even the analysis will be on-board”.

And after Le Booster?

Like other Le Booster projects, Agriviz is spending summer with Start me up: “We have access to my laboratory until the end of the year. We hope to have a proof of concept on a specific issue by the end of the summer, then move onto other issues and then look at marketing”.

But it is necessary to consider the time of year and adapt: connected or not, agriculture changes in rhythm with the seasons!