Two agritech giants have merged forces to give farmers the upper hand in accessing new autonomous tractor technology that can convert traditional tractors for auto use and maximise farm business efficiency.
Based in California, Fieldin, which claims to be the world’s largest smart farm operations management company for high-value crops, has just announced it has acquired Midnight Robotics, a company that specialises in agricultural autonomous driving.
The acquisition creates a first-of-its-kind combination of a sensor-based operational farming platform with autonomous driving technologies to empower growers in the day-to-day management of their farms.
Fieldin is already deploying its combined autonomous farming platform in major farms in California and plans additional deployments of the end-to-end system in the coming months.
The company says its addition of Midnight Robotics’ deep robotic and autonomous driving technology enables an all-in-one solution to maximise accuracy and productivity on the farm.
The platform collects farming data and turns it into actionable insights and now also offers guided decision-making and autonomous execution via driverless tractors and other machinery from within the same dashboard.
Installing these new autonomous capabilities takes under a day, with Fieldin arriving at the farm and retrofitting tractors and other farming machinery with LiDAR-based autonomy kits that feed data back to the platform in real-time.
Boaz Bachar, CEO and co-founder of Fieldin, said: “Many people think that autonomous tractors are some magic solution, but at the end of the day, they’re just machinery.
“Your autonomous farm can only be as good as your farm management data, and that’s why this acquisition is driving the autonomous farming revolution forward.
“Over the past eight years we’ve digitised hundreds of farms and over 10,000 tractors and pieces of farming equipment, more than anyone else in the high-value crop world, and amassed a trove of invaluable data that can offer insights into best practices in farm management.
“By acquiring Midnight Robotics, we’re helping farmers close the loop from insight to autonomous action, so they know exactly what they need to do and execute it autonomously, all through the same platform.”
Since launching, Fieldin has provided a smart farming SaaS platform that utilises sensor-based data to help growers worldwide improve production, operational transparency, and efficiency by monitoring field activities remotely and seamlessly integrating with existing technologies, equipment, and personnel to provide full visibility into day-to-day operations.
The company says it is the largest smart farm operations management company in the US, with 30 percent of US-based lettuce crops and 20 percent of the world’s almond crop run through their platform.
Founded by Innoviz veterans and autonomous driving experts Yonatan Horovitz and Edo Reshef, Midnight Robotics uses cutting-edge computer vision and AI to develop autonomous agricultural driving technology that offer the perfect complement to Fieldin’s platform.
The company’s core product is a retrofit kit that can transform any tractor to work autonomously using advanced LiDAR perception algorithms that enable a robust and reliable solution for autonomous operation and precise execution.
Horovitz, who will join Fieldin as Chief Autonomy Officer, and Reshef, who now becomes the company’s Chief Technology Officer, will both become Fieldin co-founders.
Yonatan Horovitz said: “It’s not enough to have great agricultural data or great autonomous technology as you need to have both to make autonomous farming a reality.
“What’s so powerful about this merger is the potent combination of Fieldin’s unparalleled farming data collection, which includes over 49 million hours’ worth of tractor driving, with our driverless technology expertise.
“We’re excited to join forces with Fieldin because only together will we be able to help farmers reap the benefits of smart and autonomous farming, not a decade from now, but today,” he said.