Collin Arocho
8 October 2019

Pats, the Delft University of Technology spin-off, has secured 250,000 euros in new capital from the Uniiq investment fund. This injection of cash was awarded to the start-up for its approach to pest control in greenhouse horticulture. Its solution: bat-like drones that actively hunt pests.

Greenhouse conditions are an ideal climate for insects to thrive and reproduce, resulting in major issues for farmers. Instead of using potentially harmful chemical pesticides, Pats is developing a solution using micro drones. To start, the Yes!Delft start-up has narrowed its focus to one particular pest: moths. Their offspring, caterpillars, can cause considerable damage to a crop, resulting in yield loss.

Credit: Pats

The system consists of base stations equipped with monitoring cameras that are installed throughout the greenhouse. As soon as a flying moth is detected, a drone is activated and directed towards the moth. It then collides with the insect, which is disposed of by the drone’s rotating propellers. This swift bat-like action takes just a few seconds. Once the insect has been eliminated, the drone returns to the base station to recharge for the next mission.

The investment from Uniiq is earmarked to strengthen the Pats R&D team, as well as to accelerate product development and reduce time to market. “We at Pats are very happy about Uniiq’s confidence in our team and our technology,” says co-founder and CEO Bram Tijmons. “The investment will be used for further technological product development and to expand the company’s knowledge base. Our innovative application will allow us to support many end-users in their day-to-day crop protection activities.”