Raven Autonomy™ to Deliver Autonomous Solutions For Agriculture
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Nov. 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Raven Industries, Inc. (the Company; NASDAQ: RAVN) recently announced details of its strategic plan, which include a significantly increased level of investment in targeted areas in order to drive greater earnings growth and long-term value. Over the next several years, the Company will advance two strategic platforms for growth: Raven Autonomy™ and Raven Composites™.
“The strength of our market positions and technology offerings has never been greater than it is today,” said Dan Rykhus, Chief Executive Officer and President of Raven Industries. “Now is the time to leverage our positions in these expanding markets in order to drive significant growth in company performance over the long-term — and we couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities in front of us.”
These two strategic growth platforms are a result of the development and growth in these key markets and directly align with the Company’s business model, which is to serve market segments with strong growth prospects. Autonomous agriculture technology is expected to develop rapidly over the next five years. Additionally, the composites market is expected to expand significantly as the need for these materials increases across several applications.
Raven Autonomy™ is a strategic growth platform which will propel its Applied Technology Division to become the industry leader in autonomous agricultural solutions. This strategic growth platform builds upon our existing machine control technology, while also innovating smart machine platforms/implements to achieve fully autonomous solutions across the farming enterprise.
Raven Composites™ is a strategic growth platform which will expand its Engineered Films Division to become an industry leader in the reinforced composites market. By leveraging our reinforced materials expertise, Engineered Films will innovate solutions that deliver thinner, lighter and stronger composites within the transportation, construction, automotive and packaging markets. These composites will be attractive alternatives to existing materials such as wood, metal and thicker plastics, as they will significantly reduce weight while improving appearance, strength, durability and lifecycle.
“To fully realize our growth potential, increased investment is needed across these areas, and we are in a great position to capitalize on these market opportunities,” added Rykhus. “We have been investing in R&D, production capabilities, strategic acquisitions, leadership development and a new enterprise resource planning software for quite some time — and now we are going to invest further. Together, these provide a solid foundation for executing this bolder strategy.”
Rykhus went on to say, “These strategic growth platforms are additive to our existing business model and enhance our core strengths — which include a proven history of innovating technology in precision agriculture and specialty sheeting.”
Raven Enters into Agreement to Acquire Majority Ownership In DOT®, Leader in Autonomous Platforms
On October 31, 2019, Raven entered into an agreement to acquire majority ownership of DOT Technology Corp. (DOT®), a leader in autonomous agriculture solutions. The investment will align under the Company’s Applied Technology division in support of Raven Autonomy™.
DOT® is the designer and manufacturer of a unique U-shaped diesel-powered platform designed to autonomously handle a large variety of agriculture implements. Through its accurate path planning technology, the platform is able to complete tasks autonomously. In turn, agriculture professionals can make better use of their time and overall operations.
The two companies began working together in May 2018, when the Company announced the Dot Platform would be outfitted with Raven technology, including steering, guidance and propulsion.
“Over the last year and a half of collaborating with DOT, Raven has come to understand the value and uniqueness of the Dot Platform,” said Rykhus. “We are furthering our investment in and ownership of this unique, disruptive technology. By investing in DOT’s growth, we believe we have the ability to lead in the next revolution of production agriculture.”
Through this majority ownership, Raven will leverage the respective strengths of each entity to drive commercialization and adoption efforts of autonomy in agriculture. Raven is the market leader in steering, guidance and machine control technology, while Dot brings field path planning, user control experience, machine safety and remote communication software to this unique relationship. Together, the companies will accelerate the development of precision agriculture technology from semi-autonomous to fully-autonomous solutions.
“Our majority ownership investment in DOT is clear evidence of our commitment to deliver revolutionary autonomous technology to the market,” said Brian Meyer, Division Vice President of Raven Applied Technology. “By bringing together DOT’s unique platform with our machine control technology, industry knowledge and OEM partnerships, Raven will be the market leader in autonomous precision agriculture advancements.”
“As a company, we launched the Dot Platform to change farming. Raven has been a critical partner in helping to get Dot to where we are today,” said Norbert Beaujot, Owner and Founder of DOT Technology Corp and SeedMaster Manufacturing Ltd. “Our combined technologies will undoubtedly help accelerate speed to market and adoption of machine autonomation.”
The transaction is expected to close in November 2019.
Raven Acquires Smart Ag®
On November 1, 2019, Raven announced its acquisition of Smart Ag Inc. — a technology company that develops autonomous farming solutions for agriculture — as a part of Raven Autonomy™. Complementing the Company’s Applied Technology division, this acquisition will be integrated into the division’s business and technology portfolio with the intent to create autonomous solutions for the precision ag market.
“The acquisition of Smart Ag is part of a bold, company-wide strategy for Raven,” commented Rykhus. “It is a key investment in Raven Autonomy™, one of our two strategic growth platforms. Autonomy in agriculture is the future of farming, and this acquisition, coupled with our existing precision agriculture solutions, solidifies our position as a technology leader within this market.”
Along with the Company’s agreement to acquire majority ownership in DOT, the acquisition of Smart Ag brings perception and path planning capabilities to the Company’s leading technologies in precision ag operations.
Smart Ag, headquartered in Ames, Ia., was founded in 2015 to solve the growing labor crisis in production agriculture. Today, Smart Ag is offering aftermarket retrofit kits to automate farm equipment as well as a platform to connect, manage and safely operate autonomous agricultural machinery. Smart Ag’s technology stack is easy to use and modular for scalability. In addition to its proven, proprietary technology, Smart Ag brings an established dealer network and a skilled development team to Raven.
“Raven’s experience in machine and application control is a perfect complement to the autonomous machine control developed by Smart Ag,” said Brian Meyer, Division Vice President of Raven Applied Technology. “Together, the expertise of both companies will allow for more operations to be performed in-field — with a significant increase in both performance and outputs. By automating existing machine platforms and implements, driverless machines have great potential to complement the work of manned machine operations in the field.”
About Raven Industries, Inc.
Raven Industries (RAVN) is dedicated to providing innovative, high-value products and solutions that solve great challenges throughout the world. Raven is a leader in precision agriculture, high-performance specialty films, and lighter-than-air technologies. Since 1956, Raven has designed, produced, and delivered exceptional solutions, earning the company a reputation for innovation, product quality, high performance, and unmatched service. For more information, visit http://ravenind.com.
About Raven Applied Technology
Raven Applied Technology is helping feed a growing population by delivering impactful technology that improves agricultural efficiency for custom applicators and growers around the world. From field computers to sprayer and planter controls, GPS guidance steering systems, wireless and logistics technology, Raven provides precision agriculture products and solutions designed to reduce operating costs and improve yields. Learn more at http://ravenprecision.com.
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Management believes that these forward-looking statements are reasonable as and when made. However, caution should be taken not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements because such statements speak only as of the date when made. Our Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. In addition, forward-looking statements are subject to certain known risks, as described in the Company’s 10-K under Item 1A, and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from our Company’s historical experience and our present expectations or projections.
Bo Larsen, Director of Investor Relations
Margaret Carmody, Director of Corporate Communications
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Source: Raven Industries