Land Maverick

Young Inventor Finds a Market on the Golf Course

Emily Yale loves robots and farming. But golf?

As a teenager, Emily worked at the farm operated by the University of Connecticut’s School of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. At the same time, she was falling in love with robot engineering through high school robotics competitions. She began to imagine a robot that could help farmers monitor the quality of their fields, evaluating nutrients in the soil and helping with fertilization and pest control management. So at age 18, as an undergraduate at Fairfield University, she invented one.

“The only problem was, the farmers didn’t like it,” Emily said. She talked to several farmers about her robot technology, and every single one said, nope, not interested.

Emily, at a loss, turned to her family for support and ideas. “My dad had a friend who managed a golf course,” she remembers. “’Why don’t you talk to him?’”

She visited her father’s friend, and showed him how Land Maverick (her new name for the robot and the company that would develop from it) autonomously monitors and tests the soil of a golf course, using multiple sensors to identify problem areas, measure water levels and spot potential diseases or pest infestations. She demonstrated how the robot is managed via a cell phone app. “I want two – now,” the course manager told her. A company was born.

But before undertaking a full-force launch, Emily is taking advantage of the resources Connecticut offers a tech entrepreneur. She is finishing up a Master’s of Engineering from UConn’s Global Entrepreneurship Program, a joint initiative of the UConn Schools of Engineering and Business, Trinity College, and the University of New Haven.

And she’s committed to locating Land Maverick in Connecticut.

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