From a successful fundraising effort that resulted in an impressive $33 million in capital to a whopping 300 of its agricultural robots in circulation worldwide, the year 2022 marked a period of significant growth for Naïo Technologies. This was just the beginning. Long heralded as a pioneer in agricultural robotics solutions, the French company set its sights even higher in 2023.
Today, Naïo Technologies’ four robots are compliant with FCC requirements, enabling them to be shipped across the pond to the United States. Oz (a farming assistant focused on arduous tasks), Orio (a tool-carrier for vegetables and industrial crops), Ted (a mechanical weeder dedicated to vineyards) and Jo (a crawler designed for narrow vineyards and specialty crops) now come with an FCC Supplier’s Declaration of Conformity that proves their compliance to appropriate technical standards based on requirements in the U.S. Getting to this point required the company to think strategically about its machinery and technical components.
“Since we are entering a large production stage, we've decided to avoid homemade electronic boards, especially for RF components,” says Cédric Seguineau, head of safety for Naïo Technologies. “As a result, we are integrating RF modules, which have their own FCC ID. Our system passes integration tests, and we are then able to ship the robots to the U.S. by using an FCC Supplier's Declaration of Conformity procedure.”
While this declaration is specific to the U.S. market, Naïo Technologies needs to be prepared to navigate the rules and regulations of any location where it intends to sell its solutions. Seguineau explains that, fortunately, this process doesn’t require the company to make extensive changes each and every time. Naïo Technologies simply has to be intentional about where the robots travel.
“Generally speaking, most countries and regions have regulations focused on three parts: the radiofrequency uses, the electrical safety, and the functional safety,” Seguineau says. “The CE marking related to the European market already integrates these dimensions. Our work to go abroad remains to ensure the versions are adapted to regional constraints on components (specific mark on electrical components and on RF components), and adapt the technical files consequently. Functional safety follows widely recognized international standards.”
“At the end of the day, it still takes time, and it could be expensive when regular audits are needed,” he continues. “We thus have to choose wisely when and where opening new markets.
Overall, these efforts to expand its reach have empowered Naïo Technologies to bring its sustainable farming solutions to new parts of the world. The company knows this effort cannot be achieved alone. Partnerships and a growing dealer network have been essential to not only getting the autonomous ag robots where they need to go, but also ensuring that they perform to the highest levels of safety, security and precision when they arrive.
To date, Naïo Technologies has worked to train and certify 35 dealers around the globe, and the company is always looking for additional dealers who want to collaborate. Flavien Roussel, marketing content manager for Naïo Technologies, says these relationships begin with a conversation to ensure both parties are a good fit for one another.
“There are talks and meetings with the dealers interested in Naïo,” he says. “We evaluate their sales area and potential. Then, we work together and teach the technical teams how to maintain the robots. The use of the robots is detailed in the operator’s manual.”
“All the functions and rules in this document are compliant with the European Union laws,” Roussel continues. “They are the hardest to comply with. Leading tutorials and teaching times with our dealers for each robot ensures they have everything they need to get clear knowledge on running a robot, using the tools and implements properly, and sticking to the safety rules.”
As Oz, Orio, Ted and Jo make their way to farms, vineyards and orchards near and far, Naïo Technologies will continue to chart their progress and identify trends. Seguineau hesitates to predict the future. He remains open to the possibility that certain robots may resonate more in certain regions. It will take time to know for sure.
“We feel that some countries could have their best-sellers regarding labor shortages on many crops,” he says. “But we never know, maybe 2025 will turn with the same sales splits everywhere.”