John Deere acquires artificial intelligence company

john deere artificial intelligence

John Deere has acquired Blue River Technology, an agriculture-based artificial intelligence company.

Blue River Technology successfully applied integrated artificial intelligence with agricultural spraying equipment. The company designed and integrated machine learning technology that enables farmer to spray herbicides only where weeds are present.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with a Blue River Technology team that is highly skilled and intensely dedicated to rapidly advancing the implementation of machine learning in agriculture,” said John May, president of Deere’s Agricultural Solutions division and chief information officer at Deere. “As a leader in precision agriculture, John Deere recognizes the importance of technology to our customers. Machine learning is an important capability for Deere’s future.”

Wide range for artificial intelligence

John Deere is confident that similar technology can be used in the future on a wide range of products.

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“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.”

Deere will invest $305 million to acquire 100 per cent of Blue River Technology. As well, Deere plans to have the 60-person firm remain in Sunnyvale, California with an objective to continue its growth and innovation. The transaction is expected to close in September.

This year alone, Blue River Technology is included in 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.

May compared the investment in Blue River Technology to Deere’s acquisition of NavCom Technology in 1999. That merger established Deere as a leader in the use of GPS for agriculture and accelerated machine connectivity.