Farmwise, A California-based Agricultural robotics company, raises $45 million in Series B funding from some of the largest farms in the United States. Fall Line Capital and Middleland Capital led the round, with Taylor Farms and GV joining them with existing investors – Playground Global and Calibrate Ventures.
Titan, FarmWise’s core product, is an AI-powered robot – designed to recognize and dramatically cut weeds without destroying the intended plant. The company is part of the larger crop of precision-agriculture startups that strive to employ technology to simplify farming processes while decreasing the usage of pesticides and herbicides.
Titan roams a farmer’s field, collecting photographs of the ground and using machine vision and AI to distinguish the weeds from the crops, building a 3D representation of the field in real-time, according to Seb Boyer, co-founder, and CEO of FarmWise. Titan’s AI system appears trained on a library of more than 500 million plant photos.
Titan uses blades similar to those used by hoes to cut weeds out of the ground with the precision of nearby plants, without the power of human labor or the pesticides and herbicides traditionally used in the weed-removal procedure. One can operate Titan with the help of a tablet or smartphone.
According to Boyer, the business provides a weeding-as-a-service model, in which farmers pay per acre for a Titan robot to come by and weed their fields. FarmWise transports the machine and an operator to the client’s farm and weeding, mowing, and maintains the equipment for the contract term. They typically commit to a set number of acres every season. FarmWise currently has a fleet of 12 Titan robots in service, according to Boyer.
FarmWise’s robots, according to Boyer, can find and cut a weed from the ground in less than a half-second, weeding at a rate of 10x–15x that of a single farmer. The firm also boasts that its technology is as precise as physical labor. Boyer further says that the technology is so accurate that only 10% of the weeds are left behind.
The agricultural robot market seems to reach $11,050 million by 2023. Earlier, UK based – Small robot company employed tom, dick, and harry robots to destroy weeds without chemicals.
So far, FarmWise’s Titans have been able to remove weeds from lettuce, broccoli, celery, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and artichokes, among other crops. Taylor Farms, Mission Ranches, Dole Fresh Vegetables, and Ocean Mist Farms are some of the largest commercial farms in the United States that partners with FarmWise.
Since its launch in 2017, FarmWise has raised more than $65 million in total funding. Boyer said that they would use the raised funds to broaden the scope of the 75-person company, including training Titans to recognize more crops such as tomatoes, peppers, and melons and expand the company’s geographic reach into areas such as Iowa, Oregon, and Florida.