Agriculture company Wilbur Ellis, Xplorer Capital, and Alumni Ventures Group also joined the round. This round of funding will be used to grow the company's robotic engineering and operation teams as well as boost R&D efforts on plant-level detection and actuation capabilities. "Each day, one FarmWise robot can weed crops to feed a medium-sized city of approximately 400,000 inhabitants. We are now enhancing the scale and depth of our proprietary plant-detection technology to help growers with more of their processes and on more of their crops. Looking ahead, our robots will increasingly act as specialized doctors for crops, monitoring individual health and adjusting targeted interventions according to a crop's individual needs," said FarmWise co-founder and CEO Sébastien Boyer.
Silicon Valley startup FarmWise Labs announced today that it is teaming up with Michigan-based manufacturing and automotive company Roush to create autonomous vegetable weeders. The companies will work together over the course of the year to create prototypes for self-driving robots that will be able to navigate across crops. If all goes well, they will start to scale up with additional units in 2020. The weeding robots could prove to be a major help for Michigan farmers. The autonomous vehicles will be designed to perform high-precision weeding and thinning and will be able to operate around the clock, saving farmers from having to perform the time-sucking tasks.
Automating agriculture is a complex proposition given the number and variety of tasks involved, but a number of robotics and autonomy companies are giving it their best shot. FarmWise seems to have impressed someone -- it just raised $14.5 million to continue development of its autonomous weeding vehicle. Currently in the prototype stage, these vehicles look like giant lumbering personnel carriers or the like, but are in fact precision instruments which scan the ground for invasive weeds among the crop and carefully pluck them out. "Each day, one FarmWise robot can weed crops to feed a medium-sized city of approximately 400,000 inhabitants," said FarmWise CEO Sebastien Boyer in a press release announcing the latest funding round. "We are now enhancing the scale and depth of our proprietary plant-detection technology to help growers with more of their processes and on more of their crops."
FarmWise announced today that it has raised a $14.5 million Series A round of funding for its autonomous agriculture robots. The round was led by Calibrate Ventures with participation from Wilbur Ellis, Xplorer Capital and Alumni Ventures Group. This brings the total amount raised by FarmWise to $20.2 million. Farmwise builds self-driving robots that use a combination of computer vision and AI to identify weeds among crops and precision mechanical tools to remove them without the need for herbicides. According to the press release sent to The Spoon, FarmWise says its robots have removed weeds from more than 10 million plants.
What a month it was for robotics. Whether it was Boston Dynamics launching its Spot quadruped robot, Shopify acquiring 6 River Systems or Universal Robots launching its strongest cobot ever, the robotics stories didn't disappoint in September 2019. Here are the Top 10 most popular robotics stories on The Robot Report for September 2019. Subscribe to The Robot Report's free weekly newsletter to stay updated on the latest analysis and news from the robotics industry. Since being acquired by SoftBank, Boston Dynamics promised to bring its robots to market.