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Community Profile: Tristan Steventon

Josh Spires | 23 April, 2021 | The Sphere Drones Blog

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Tristan Steventon – Director of StevTech

This months community profile is on Tristan Steventon, the founder and Director of Stevtech, a leading agricultural services provider based in NSW. Tristan believes in the power of the person to achieve simple solutions to complex problems. The crew at StevTech bring a unique combination of skills, knowledge and attributes.

Company Name: Stevtech Pty Ltd

Position: Director

Business Type: Service Provider

Industry: Agriculture

When and how did you first get into the drone industry?

I was the ‘customer’ of drone service providers for many years during my service in the Australian Army.  Seeing the remarkable pace at which drone capabilities were developing in that sector led me to starting my own business in the agricultural sector. Having seen the way GPS systems transitioned from the military to agriculture in the 1990s (following the first Gulf War) I was convinced that the same would happen with remote sensing following the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. Having grown up on a farm it seemed an easy fit to bring drone and other remote sensing tech to the farm gate.

Can you give an example of a recent project?
  • Weed detection and integration into conventional spray rigs (have achieved up to 90% chemical savings with customers)

  • Yield estimation for citrus crops (2 months before harvest).

  • Using machine learning software to analyse 0.3mm pixel imagery to locate and identify nutrient deficiencies, weeds, insect damage and plant stand counts in a variety of crops.

What changes/developments have you noticed over the last few years?

The quality and variety of software on offer to process drone data through has changed dramatically. Dramatically. Hardware is changing too, however the advances in software is truly remarkable.

What challenges have you experienced in your time? 

Burnt bridges. The start of the drone industry in agriculture came with a heap of unsubstantiated hype. This has burnt bridges that take time and effort to rebuild.  The hype of 2013 is only now becoming an actual reality.

Where do you see the Australian drone industry in 10 years time?

A more mature place to work from an equipment, legislative, software and marketing perspective. The main change in agriculture by 2030 will be that drones will be more akin to soil probes and weather stations than airplanes.  Farms will have access to premium drone data sets with the level of frequency and cost that suits their needs.

To find out more about Tristan and the team at Stevtech, check out their website stevtech.com.au

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