Deere adds machine learning capabilities through acquisition
Acquisition of Blue River Technology will allow Deere to bring machine learning to agricultural equipment
Deere & Company has inked a deal to acquire California-based Blue River Technology, which specializes in machine learning technology for agriculture. Deere said it will invest $305 million to fully acquire Blue River Technology. Deere also said that the transaction is expected to close during this month. The company confirmed that Blue River’s headquarters will remain in Sunnyvale.
“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, agricultural solutions, and chief information officer at Deere. “Machine learning is an important capability for Deere’s future.”
Deer highlighted that Blue River Technology has successfully applied machine learning to agricultural spraying equipment. May said that similar technology can be used in the future on a wider range of products.
Blue River has designed and integrated computer vision and machine learning technology that will enable growers to reduce the use of herbicides by spraying only where weeds are present, optimizing the use of inputs in farming, which is a key objective of precision agriculture.
“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.”
May also said the investment in Blue River Technology is similar to Deere’s acquisition of NavCom Technology in 1999 that had allowed Deere to implement GPS technology for agriculture and accelerated machine connectivity and optimization.