John Deere sharpens its robotics focus with Bear Flag buy
Deere & Company will acquire Bear Flag Robotics, a Silicon Valley-based startup, for $250 million to accelerate the development and delivery of smart farming tools like automation and autonomous vehicles.
“Deere views autonomy as an important step forward in enabling farmers to leverage their resources strategically to feed the world and create more sustainable and profitable operations,” said Jahmy Hindman, CTO at John Deere. “Bear Flag’s team of talented agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists have a proven ability to deliver advanced technology solutions to market. Joining that expertise and experience with Deere’s expertise in autonomy, along with our world-class dealer channel, will accelerate the delivery of solutions to farmers that address the immense challenge of feeding a growing world.”
Bear Flag, established in 2017, develops autonomous driving technology compatible with existing farming machines and first worked with John Deere in 2019 as part of Deere’s Startup Collaborator program. Since then, Bear Flag has deployed its autonomous solution on a limited number of farms in the U.S. The robotics company is focused on autonomy, sensor fusion, vision, data, software and hardware.
Dan Leibfried, director of automation and autonomy at Deere, commented that the pair are “highly complementary from both a technology and mission perspective.”
“We look forward to working even closer together with the ultimate goal of helping farmers achieve the best possible outcomes through advanced technology like autonomy,” he added.
“One of the biggest challenges farmers face today is the availability of skilled labor to execute time-sensitive operations that impact farming outcomes,” said Igino Cafiero, co-founder and CEO of Bear Flag Robotics. “Autonomy offers a safe and productive alternative to address that challenge head on.”