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Bringing more autonomy to ag

Bringing more autonomy to ag

Bluewhite’s Pathfinder product can be applied as a retrofit onto tractors

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

An autonomous ag solution manufacturer has received funding to further its product development.

Bluewhite, an agricultural Robot-as-a-Service company, received $39 million in Series C funding (financial support designed to scale businesses up quickly to get a fast return on investment).

The company will use the funds to expand autonomous tractor operations into new markets and further the scale of its ag robotics solutions, “which reduces the costs of crop production by up to 75%,” Bluewhite says.

Bluewhite’s Pathfinder, for example, can be installed as a retrofit option onto any tractor.

It uses computer vision, AI and other technologies to perform tasks like seeding, spraying and harvesting autonomously, while maintaining the ability to drive the tractor manually.

And Compass, the software component, collects data and provides farmers with real-time dashboards, reports and insights.

The product is geared towards permanent crop types like nuts, berries, apples, grapes, hops and stone fruit.

Autonomous solutions like Bluewhite help farmers address the biggest challenge in the sector.

“Labor, labor, labor,” Bluewhite CEO and co-founder Ben Alfi said in an interview, TechCrunch reported. “We want to maximise the existing assets people have.”

The market for autonomy in ag is likely to continue to increase.

Research from Allied Market Research indicates the global market for autonomous tractors will reach $11.5 billion by 2030, compared to about $1.5 billion in 2020.

And the researchers point at the COVID-19 pandemic as a contributing factor to autonomy’s rise.

“The COVID-19 outbreak had a mixed effect on the growth of the global autonomous tractor industry owing to rise in demand for agricultural produce such as cereals, vegetables, and fruits in addition to lockdown measure in different countries and delay in production,” a research excerpt says.




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