- Guardian Agriculture tapped a former Tesla engineer to lead its supply chain as the company prepares to scale production of its autonomous crop dusting drones.
- Matt Cherouny has been named vice president of supply chain and manufacturing, Guardian said in a release this week. He previously held engineering positions at Tesla and oversaw production at electrical vertical aviation company Beta.
- Founder and CEO Adam Bercu said Cherouny will help Guardian ramp up production of its agriculture aircraft, the SC1. The manufacturer secured approval from the Federal Aviation Administration in April to operate its drones nationwide.
Guardian's drones allow for precise application of pesticides, promising farmers more cost-effective and sustainable methods to protect their crops.
“Having recently secured approval from the FAA to begin commercial operations, our focus now is implementing a disciplined manufacturing process, and a resilient supply chain to propel it,” Bercu said in a statement. “Matt’s track record of helping other autonomous companies grow and scale their supply chain and manufacturing operations is exemplary.”
Unlike other agriculture drones, which tend to be too small to spray entire fields, Guardian said its technology is capable of delivering the same coverage as traditional aerial crop dusting and ground spraying equipment.
The company's SC1 platform can carry 200-pound payloads and cover 40 acres per hour of full-field crop protection. The drone uses data to offer on-target application when and where necessary. At scale, the company said it will help eliminate hundreds of millions of pounds of unnecessary pesticide use each year.
Guardian has already banked more than $100 million in orders for the SC1, Bercu said in a release. The price of the system starts at $119,000, according to Guardian's website, and the first drone deliveries to customers will occur in late 2023.
Commercial operations are expected to start at a Wilbur-Ellis customer in California in the coming months as the company continues to ramp up its production capacity. Cherouny will help Guardian enter its next phase of growth, joining a team of former executives from Apple, Uber and other tech giants.