Deere moves towards ‘intelligent’ machines, with company take-over

Deere & Company has completed its acquisition of Blue River Technology.

Earlier in September, Deere said it signed a definitive agreement to purchase the Sunnyvale, California company to enhance its position in precision agriculture.

Blue River designs computer vision and machine learning technology, which is intended to enable farmers to reduce the use of herbicides by spraying only where weeds are present.

This, says the company, optimises the use of expensive chemical inputs – a key objective of precision agriculture. Machine learning technologies, says John Deere, could eventually be applied to a wide range of its products.

John Deere

“Blue River is advancing precision agriculture by moving farm management decisions from the field level to the plant level,” said Jorge Heraud, co-founder and CEO of Blue River Technology.

We are using computer vision, robotics, and machine learning to help smart machines detect, identify and make management decisions about every single plant in the field.

Already in 2017, Blue River Technology has been listed among Inc. Magazine’s ’25 Most Disruptive Companies’, Fast Company’s ‘Most Innovative Companies’, CB Insights ‘100 Most Promising Artificial Intelligence Companies in the World’ and the ‘Top 50 Agricultural Innovations’ by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

Deere is investing $305 million to fully acquire Blue River Technology. It plans to have the 60-person firm remain in Sunnyvale.

John Deere

The investment in Blue River Technology is reminiscent of Deere’s acquisition of NavCom Technology in 1999; that move established Deere as a key player in the use of GPS technology for agriculture.