Acquisitions are shaking up the smart farming landscape, writes Greg Nichols at ZDNet. The latest example comes via Fieldin, the world’s largest smart farm operations management company for high-value crops, which has acquired agricultural autonomous driving company Midnight Robotics.
The acquisition is a sign of rapid maturation in smart farming, which uses IoT sensors and AI to manage farm operations with unprecedented precision and is helping reshape food manufacturing in wealthy markets. The acquisition creates a sensor-based operational farming platform with autonomous driving technologies to empower growers in the day-to-day management of their farms. It’s the ag equivalent of the lights out farm, and the concept has already been deployed in large California farms.
“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,” says Boaz Bachar, CEO and Co-Founder of Fieldin. “Over the past eight years, we’ve digitized 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.”
Agriculture has been rapidly adopting IoT and automation technology in response to growing pressures that include labor scarcity, climate change, and drought. Precision agriculture, the catch-all for digital technology-powered farming, is being adopted in various use cases to introduce manufacturing-level efficiencies into food production.