Who We Are
At ZAPT, our purpose is to make your company grow by developing autonomous products and technologies that are more efficient and easier to use. With a focus on this purpose, our mission is to deliver safe and reliable solutions to increase productivity. In the crazy year of 2021, we lived by these standards by developing sensor suites to improve operational efficiency and increase autonomous acceptance.
Our Goals & Accomplishments
In 2021, Zupt Autonomous Products and Technology (ZAPT) was formed as a subsidiary of Zupt, LLC. After the ZAPT's founding, we went forward to confirm proof of concept, and on February 21st, we completed our initial prototype, "Nomad," a Fully Autonomous Commercial Lawnmower. We utilized this prototype to test a full array of sensors, the radio control system, and mowing capabilities. In June, we achieved our first autonomous run, and by July, we executed our first LOI for 50 Nomad units.
Once the word of who we are began circulating, we accepted the invitation to participate in a Robotic Panel at the Aspire conference in August. Shortly following that, we participated in a robotics podcast at the Lawn and Landscape Technology conference. Finally, in October, at the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, we launched Nomad to the public and revealed several mowing capabilities in the Outdoor Demonstration Area.
As we close the year, our engineers are focused on finalizing the Nomad V2 Prototype. This prototype will be introduced to the field in Q1 2022. The goal is that our clients will test and break Nomad prototypes in the field to improve and develop the most efficient autonomous commercial lawnmower.
As we all know, 2021 brought its own challenges, with the most prominent and painful challenges being because of Covid. The main areas to overcome were traveling restrictions, quarantine enforcements, and supply chain shortages. Our biggest challenge was the supply chain shortages, with our primary focus on prototype builds. We experienced delays of up to 20 weeks beyond quoted delivery times for components such as hydraulic pumps and motors. Some technological parts are limited to available stock as the factories do not produce specific components.
The underlying secondary challenge early in the year was initial Lawn Care Industry knowledge. With our background in developing underwater navigation and positioning technology, we had a new market to understand with our lawnmower. Therefore, we have spent countless hours on market research about the mower manufacturers, the operators' production metrics, and the existing acceptance or dissatisfaction with known autonomous products. This research provided new contacts, a better operational model, and advanced buy-in to the latest technology.
Opportunities for Next Year
With client testing in January, we look forward to introducing Nomad V2 to our early adopters. Nomad will help companies grow as many operators are short over 1,500 seasonal employees in Texas alone. We will utilize this labor gap to our advantage by demonstrating durability and productivity in the spring and early summer while working with designated client teams.
As we complete the testing prototypes and get them into the field, we anticipate discovering several things we did not already know. That is the fun of development. Many of our developmental opportunities lie ahead for the next year in improving what we discover.
Hopefully, 2022 will relieve the supply chain woes of the pandemic. We are looking at ways to complete our first build of 100 retail units and lessen the delays caused by lead times 3 and 4 times more than usual. Finally, by late summer, we look forward to entering into revenue-producing contracts and moving forward with Nomad V3.
Wrapping up 2021
We believe we are leaders in developing robotic technology to make autonomy accessible to all. 2021 was arguably one of the most complex operational years, requiring unique solutions to add operational simplicity. One truth remains certain despite the ups and downs; we make autonomous solutions available to all organizations.
Looking forward to 2022, we will continue to focus on our robotic technology's safety and reliability.