Silicon Valley’s on-farm autonomous driving start-up Bear Flag Robotics has been acquired by John Deere for US$250 million. Bear Flag Robotics makes autonomous driving technology with a difference – it’s compatible with existing agricultural machinery. In January the Californian agtech firm raised US$7.9 million in a seed extension that took its total revenue raised to US$12.5 million. The new deal with John Deere accelerates the development and delivery of automation and autonomy on the farm and supports John Deere’s long-term strategy to create smarter machines with advanced technology to support individual customer needs.
“Deere views autonomy as an important step forward in enabling farmers to leverage their resources strategically to feed the world and create more sustainable and profitable operations,” said Jahmy Hindman, Chief Technology Officer at John Deere. “Bear Flag’s team of talented agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists have a proven ability to deliver advanced technology solutions to market. Joining that expertise and experience with Deere’s expertise in autonomy, along with our world-class dealer channel, will accelerate the delivery of solutions to farmers that address the immense challenge of feeding a growing world.”
Deere first started working with Bear Flag in 2019 as part of the company’s Start-up Collaborator program, an initiative focused on enhancing work with start-up companies whose technology could add value for Deere customers. Since then, Bear Flag has successfully deployed its autonomous solution on a limited number of farms in the U.S.
“One of the biggest challenges farmers face today is the availability of skilled labour to execute time-sensitive operations that impact farming outcomes. Autonomy offers a safe and productive alternative to address that challenge head on,” said Igino Cafiero, co-founder and CEO of Bear Flag Robotics. “Bear Flag’s mission to increase global food production and reduce the cost of growing food through machine automation is aligned with Deere’s and we’re excited to join the Deere team to bring autonomy to more farms.”
The Bear Flag team consists of agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists focused on autonomy, sensor fusion, vision, data, software and hardware. They will remain in Silicon Valley where they will work closely with Deere to accelerate innovation and autonomy for customers across the world.
“Deere and Bear Flag are highly complementary from both a technology and mission perspective,” said Dan Leibfried, Director – Automation & Autonomy at Deere. “We look forward to working even closer together with the ultimate goal of helping farmers achieve the best possible outcomes through advanced technology like autonomy.“