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.
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."
Editor's Note: Robotics Business Review's coverage emphasizes innovation, including start-up companies (or'young' companies). RBR "Start-Up Profiles" highlight individual start-up companies using a consistent, templated format that makes for quick, yet informed reading, that also simplifies comparative analysis. Funding Status – $20.2 million raised so far (Series A) FarmWise builds innovative systems and processes to streamline farm operations and increase food production efficiency. Technology / Product / Service(s) – For vegetable growers who face increased growing costs and new regulatory pressures, FarmWise builds innovative systems and processes to streamline farm operations and increase food production efficiency. FarmWise's first product, an automated mechanical weeder powered by AI and robotics has captured more than 100 million crop images. Today, it is offered as a service to vegetable growers in California and Arizona.
Self-driving vehicles would not be possible without sensors and so it's not surprising to see two small new sensors in the 2020 Silicon Valley Robotics'Good Robot' Innovation Awards, the Velabit from Velodyne and the nanoScan3 from SICK. Our other Innovation Awards go to companies with groundbreakingly new robots; from the tensegrity structure of Squishy Robotics, which will help in both space exploration and disaster response on earth, to the Dusty Robotics full scale FieldPrinter for the construction industry, and Titan from FarmWise for agriculture, which was also named one of Time's Best Inventions for 2020. Finally, we're delighted to see innovation in robotics that is affordable and collaborative enough for home robot applications, with Stretch from Hello Robot and Eve from Halodi Robotics. The Velabit, a game-changing lidar sensor, leverages Velodyne's innovative lidar technology and manufacturing partnerships for cost optimization and high-volume production, to make high-quality 3D lidar sensors readily accessible to everyone. The Velabit is smaller than a deck of playing cards, and it shatters the price barrier, costing $100.00 per sensor.
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.