November 17, 2021
Smart farm operations management company Fieldin has announced it acquired Midnight Robotics, a developer of agricultural autonomous driving technology. The acquisition combines a sensor-based operational farming platform with autonomous driving technologies to empower growers in the day-to-day management of their farms. Fieldin said it is already deploying the combined platform in major platforms in California, with additional deployments of the end-to-end system in coming months.
The platform collects farming data and turns it into actionable insights, as well as guided decision-making and autonomous execution via driverless tractors and other machinery from within the same dashboard. Fielin said the onboarding of the new autonomous capabilities takes less than one day, with Fieldin arriving at the farm and retrofitting tractors and other machinery with lidar-based autonomy kits that send data back to the platform in real time.
“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,” said 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.”
Fieldin’s smart farming software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform uses sensor-based data to help growers improve production, operational transparency, and efficiency by monitoring field activities remotely and integrating with existing technologies, equipment, and personnel to provide visibility into day-to-day operations. The company said it is the largest smart farm operator in the U.S., with 30% of U.S.-based lettuce crops and 20% of the world’s almond crop run through their platform.
Midnight Robotics was founded by Innoviz veterans and autonomous driving experts Yonatan Horovitz and Edo Reshef. The company uses computer vision and AI to develop autonomous agricultural driving technology that will complement Fieldin’s platform. The company’s core product is a retrofit kit that can transform any tractor two work autonomously using advanced lidar perception algorithms that enable autonomous execution. Horovitz will join Fieldin as the chief autonomy officer, and Reshef, who becomes the chief technology officer, will both become co-founders of Fieldin.
“It’s not enough to have great agricultural data or great autonomous technology – you need to have both to make autonomous farming a reality,” said Horovitz. “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.”