February 22, 2022
Verdant Robotics has announced the expansion of its robots-as-a-service (RaaS) model to ensure access for more specialty crop farmers, as well as meet their demands for more sustainable and profitable growing practices.
Since its founding in late 2018, the company has raised $21.5 million to develop its multi-action, autonomous farm robot, which is capable of millimeter-accurate spraying, laser weeding, and AI-based digital crop modeling. WIth its partners, Verdant uses these tools to deliver larger produce, greater yields, and significant savings for farmers, the company said.
The system uses computational robotic and autonomous software systems that combine technologies such as computer vision, artificial intelligence, robotics, GPS-denied navigation, chemistry, and soil and plant sciences to achieve the next generation of crop production.
Verdant said it has contracted to service about 40% of the U.S. carrot market exclusively for the next five years, and is currently scaling to meet the needs of the U.S. multi-billion-dollar fruit and vegetable industry.
“Farmers told us not to give them more data, but to figure out what to do with the mountains of data they already have, or better yet just go do it,” said Gabe Sibley, co-founder and CEO of Verdant Robotics. “They want a complete solution that takes action in real-time and keeps farmers in control – all while improving profitability and automating dangerous, back-breaking field work.”
While agricultural robotic startups brought in $491 million in investment during the first half of 2021, actual on-farm robotics has mostly been on a trial basis, the company said. Following successful large-scale rollouts over the past 18 months, Verdant said it logged thousands of hours in 2021 and is already proven on multiple crops. “Today, Verdant machines are in the field all day, every day, helping farmers achieve superhuman efficacy,” said Sibley.
The company’s 6-row and 12-row commercial implements can treat up to 4.2 acres per hour, achieving a higher weed-removal rate per acre than other technology or human ability, and reducing chemical usage by up to 95%. SImultaneously, the company’s autonomous software system collects data and uses machine learning to optimize yield and growing outcomes, which can unlock new revenues for farmers.
“Verdant Robotics’ ability to digitize the farm enables precision technology at a level never before possible for specialty crops, removing the choice between environmental stewardship and profitability,” said Cannon Michael, a sixth-generation California farmer and CEO of Bowles Farming Company. “With the unique combination of automation and insight, farmers can collectively manage precious resources – like water – while maintaining or improving yields.”
Verdant said it will expand its platform with plans to commercialize a precision multi-action machine for orchards by 2023, as well as deliver complete robotics solutions globally to help improve the quality, profitability and stewardship of important food crops to feed growing populations more sustainably and nutritiously.
For more details on Verdant Robotics and its technologies, visit its website here.