Agritech Companies to Watch out for in 2019
Headquartered in Champaign, Illinois and founded by Chinmay Soman and Girish Chowdhary, Earthsense Inc. has developed an autonomous, ultra-compact and self-learning robot by the name “TeraSentia”. The robot uses machine learning to identify weeds and identifies ways to eradicate weeds, emphasizing on the chemical-free methods.
TeraSentia was ideated and developed at the University of Illinois with the support of US department of energy. The ongoing research & development (R&D) at Earthsese is funded by National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research Award. The company has sold 25 robots in 2018 as part of the early adopter program. The dimension of TerraSentia is as follows – weight: 30 pounds, width: 11 inches and length: 20 inches. The machine runs automatically on GPS and sensors, records data based on RGB cameras and other imagery sensors. The annual least cost for 2019 in 15,000 USD and it includes GPS and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging).
RoboticsPlus is a New Zealand agriculture and robotics automation company, backed by CEO Dr. Matt Glen. Roboticsplus addresses crucial challenges such as labor shortages, sustainability for growers, pollination gaps and yield security. With RoboticsPlus automation in the field of kiwi harvesting and apple packing is possible now. The company is funded by Yamaha motors with 10 million USD of investment. With apple packer, 120 apples can be handled in a minute, which usually takes several minutes and two to three people manually.
Headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and founded by Naem Zafar, Nick Garner and George Zafiropoulos, Telesense provides state of the art grain storage, cold storage, and livestock monitoring and transportation. It has recently acquired Webstech Co. to expand its footprint in the European market. The solutions offered are very affordable sensors for grain storage which are wireless in nature are battery run. The sensed data is sent to cloud for storage and further analysis. Any deviations or issues are communicated via alerts being sent via SMS, and e-mail. With cold storage the company provides an end-to-end complete cold storage solution. It is essential to maintain the right temperature throughout the process of harvesting, processing, packaging and transportation. To monitor and maintain the right temperature, moisture, humidity for specific needs, Telesense has a solution for you.
Swiss company ecorobotix has received a funding of 11 Million USD in 2018 to develop its product – farmer and gardening robot. The robot helps in identifying and eradicating weeds from the field with precision, automation and accuracy. A plus is that these robots are solar powered, with a 12-hour automatic run. With the use of automated weeding technology drastically decreases the use of herbicides. According to the company claim, the use of herbicides is reduced by 99%.
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5. Trace Genomics
Headquartered in San Francisco, US and founded by Diane Wu and Poornima Parameswaran, Trace Genomics deals with soil science. By exploring soil to its DNA level unleashes a new potential for improved farming with grater efficiency and profitability. The sample provided by farmers is analyzed for the constituent microbes. This helps in determining the crop type to produce, irrigation required, the type of pesticides and fertilizers to be used etc. With the help of high scalable software and analytics platform helps in quantifying soil productivity and providing actionable insights to farmers and agronomist. The company has recently received 13 Million USD investment to measure the crop health – corn and soybean. With this the total investment now stands at 19 Million USD.
Waterbit is a precision agriculture irrigation company. With Automated Irrigation System (AIS) enabled micro block control for irrigation, considering plant stage, soil type and weather condition at a very granular level. In the year 2018, the company received a funding of 11.4 Million USD. The manual process of irrigation is time and labor intensive. This also adds significantly to the cost of farming as a result of suboptimal use of expensive resources. Farmers can access the Waterbit dashboard to tune and manage irrigation from their smartphone at any time and place. The system monitors irrigation with carbon nodes and soil moisture sensors and communicate the information to the cloud with cellular gateways, automate irrigation based on data using block belt controllers. Users can analyze the data on dashboards to refine irrigation decisions and report on their usage. This technology helps maximize the value of the scarce resource – water. This in turn helps to improve yield and crop quality, with the added advantage to save time and money of farmers.
7. Bear Flag Robotics
Silicon Valley based Bear Flag Robotics provides robust solution such as automated unmanned tractor fleets from remote location. The solution helps in route planning, job scheduling, and provides alerts for real time equipment. With their flagship product Record-and-Replay path capability custom routes. Through automation, the mission is to reduce the cost of farming. The company plans to lease the tractors at affordable rates and based on certain set parameter criteria such Return on Investment (ROI). Till date Bear Flag Robotics have seen two rounds of funding with a total funding amounting to 3.5 Million USD.
8. Blue River Technology
In the year 2017, Blue River was acquired by John Deere. It still runs as an independent subsidiary. The concept of Blue River Technology was ideated at the Stanford University. The first go to market prototype was the Lettuce Bot. They focused on lettuce thinning which is traditionally a time exhaustive and labor-intensive task of eliminating the lettuce seedlings. The lettuce bot identifies unwanted seedlings, sprays them and eliminates them with accuracy and precision in real time. The second machine to hit the market and continuing is the ‘See & Spray technology’. With the help of machine learning, the technology identifies both plants and weeds. The technology claims less than an inch spray mechanism with accuracy. The current usage is with cotton and soybean farming.
9. 360 Yield Center
360 yield center provides a plethora of products under the flagship brand 360. The products are as follows: 360 Y-DROP, 360 Y-DROP SIDERESS, 360 UNDERCOVER, 360 GUIDE, 360 GLIDE, 360 BANDIT, 360 SPRINT, 360 TANKS, 360 SOLISCAN, 360 YIELD SAVER, 360 CHAINROLL, 360 BULLET, 360 EQUI-FLOW and 360 DRAG CHAIN. Each product program they run offers rebate.
With 360 Y-DROP, the farmer can make a timelier application of nitrogen and can cover more acres of land per day, thus increasing the overall yield.
With 360 UNDERCOVER, insecticides, nutrient, and pesticides can applied under the canopy for crops such as corn, soybean, cotton, wheat. This can be added on to 360 Y-DROP easily. The spray mechanism is flexible up to 150 degrees sideways (horizontally) with four multidirectional spray nozzles.
The Nebraska based company provides software for improved irrigation systems. The solution is about irrigation optimization for better decision making on when and how much water is required. The technology used combines In-field sensors, data science and field support (local support). With the help of sensors, the farmers and agronomist can gauge and sense the ground realities and decide upon irrigation recommendation and scheduling. With the help of data science, the future can be planned effectively for irrigation. This compliments with the in sensors which provide real time accurate data. The other important support provided by the company is the field support. With the help of local agronomist, the right strategy and plan for execution can be chartered. Together three combination of sensors, data science and field support provide a complete packaged solution to the customer i.e. farmer.