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U.S. manufacturer buys control of DOT Technology

Raven Industries takes up majority stake

Norbert Beaujot's DOT system, shown here in Woodstock, Ont. in September 2019, has a new majority owner in South Dakota-based Raven Industries. (Farmtario photo by John Greig)

A made-in-Canada self-guiding farm equipment platform has sold control of itself to one of its U.S. investors.

Sioux Falls, S.D. precision agriculture manufacturer Raven Industries announced last week it has closed its deal to buy majority ownership in Regina-based DOT Technology Corp. for an undisclosed sum.

DOT said the deal will allow it to “further capitalize on its position as a leader in the autonomous agriculture sector, providing farmers a real way to address labour shortages, high equipment cost and rising operational expenses.”

DOT’s principal product — which has made waves in the farm equipment sector since its unveiling at Ag in Motion in 2017 — is a U-shaped, self-guiding, diesel-powered platform, built to handle various farm implements and use path planning technology to complete field tasks.

About 10 of the DOT units operated in Prairie fields in 2019, and a demo unit made its first appearance in the East in September, at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show, where it handled a prototype planter as well as a seeder and dry fertilizer spreader.

Raven said its investment will be set up under its Raven Applied Technology division, “in support of its strategic growth platform, Raven Autonomy.”

DOT’s founder Norbert Beaujot said the deal with Raven “greatly accelerates DOT’s speed to market, as well as the quality of the system, for farmers who are seeking a path to autonomy.”

Raven “has been a critical partner in helping to get DOT to where we are today,” said Beaujot, who previously set up seeding systems manufacturer SeedMaster in the Regina area in 2002.

Raven and DOT have been working closely since May last year as the DOT platform was outfitted with Raven’s tech, 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,” Raven CEO Dan Rykhus said. “By investing in DOT’s growth, we believe we have the ability to lead in the next revolution of production agriculture.”

Through the deal, Raven said, it “will leverage the respective strengths of each entity to drive commercialization and adoption efforts of autonomy in agriculture.”

Billing itself as the market leader in steering, guidance and machine control technology, Raven said DOT will bring its “field path planning, user control experience, machine safety and remote communication software” to their “unique relationship.”

Raven, with DOT, “will accelerate the development of precision agriculture technology from semi-autonomous to fully-autonomous solutions.”

“The amount of interest DOT has here in Canada, the U.S. and globally is staggering,” DOT CEO Robert Saik said. “Raven’s involvement means our ability to provide a path to autonomy for farmers and implement manufacturers is now much stronger.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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