Interview by Marios Prapopoulos
KYTION Business Developer
Α future of autonomous devices roaming greenhouses and open fields assisting farmers into achieving ever greater yields with less effort and inputs
This is the scope of KYTION, the brainchild of Dionisis Bitas and Nikos-Kyriakos Papastavros, a talented duo of electrical engineers from the University of Patras, Greece. They started work on the project in 2017 and got their major breakthrough in the summer of 2020 when they won 2nd place at the NBG Business Seeds, a nationwide technological competition in Greece.
KYTION is a Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) device that maintains ideal growing conditions for plants growing inside greenhouses. It is a fast-moving cablebot equipped with a series of sensors that scans greenhouse plants and checks out their health status and stress level. In its extended version it communicates with various other greenhouse automations and activates them if needed. Moreover, it can also control zonal irrigation inside a greenhouse installation through a proprietary flow valve system.
KYTION is still being developed and is currently being tested on a few greenhouse installations in and around the Gulf of Patras area in Western Greece. “Naturally, our market focus is international and we are very keen to enter the Dutch and US markets,”Marios Prapopoulos, Business Developer of KYTION says. “To this respect, we are happy to announce our first major market breakthrough having secured an order from a micro-green producer in Montana, USA.”
The first commercial version of KYTION is destined to cross the Atlantic this February.
“Since the future for leafy greens and non-perennial plants lies inside CEA systems (greenhouses), IoT sensors, robotic planters, harvesters and the like will become indispensable tools for tomorrow’s growers,” Prapopoulos notes. “If your neighbour grower achieves ideal growing conditions inside their greenhouse aided from technology, no matter how big or small his installation is, for how long will you able to compete on quality or yield based on your past experience or customary practices?”
The KYTION team currently works on securing some patents for KYTION. They plan to capitalize on their first commercial success in the USA and will focus on collaborating with top notch institutions like the Agricultural University of Athens in Greece and the University of Wageningen in Holland.
“Our main goal still remains to gain access to funds that will enable us to produce a fully developed commercial grade KYTION,” Prapopoulos says. “Hardware development does have many costs involved and for sure installing and maintaining robotic devices on fields and greenhouses away from home puts an extra stain on our finances.”
The article is published in the January/ February issue of Greek Business File, part of the cover story on the autonomous production methods powered by robots. GBF presents the global trends in the robotics markets, the level of robotic process automation in Greek enterprises, the pioneers of the sector in Greece and the Greek companies that have emerged as Industrial Robot Companies. The January / February issue of Greek Business File is available here.