Blue White Robotics taps Federated, Intel for CBRS automation of California winery
Blue White Robotics, Federated Wireless, and Intel have announced work to adapt and connect existing farm equipment, notably tractors, at a California winery into autonomous production vehicles. The trio said the test project, which includes a private 4G/5G installation in the US CBRS band, “charts a new path to autonomous agriculture with flexible robotics and private wireless”.
Blue White Robotics, founded in 2017 by ex-IAF pilots and engineers, develops autonomous air and ground technologies. As part of the collaboration, Federated Wireless deployed the private cellular network in less than three days, it claimed, to cover 2.1 square miles of vineyard. Blue White Robotics used Intel’s ‘smart edge’ and edge server with a six-core processor to connect a mix of autonomous tractors and sensors.
A statement said: “Agriculture operations face many unique challenges when it comes to networking and are generally spread out over a large area, often in remote locations where public carrier wireless broadband is limited and costly to implement. Low-latency, high-bandwidth wireless communications through a shared spectrum-enabled private wireless network were essential to realising the level of automation achieved in this use case.”
It continued: “An adaptive autonomous kit developed for agriculture by Blue White Robotics converts a typical tractor into a fully autonomous vehicle, giving growers the ability to leverage known assets with the flip of a switch. Blue White Robotics’ solution can automate a variety of tasks, including spraying, discing and dusting. A single operator can then manage a fleet of adapted autonomous tractors working across a very wide area.”
Christopher Swan, chief commercial officer at Federated Wireless, said: “Smart farming is one example of how broader adoption of automation and edge innovation depends on powerful, next-generation connectivity. Intel and Federated Wireless are making that possible with private wireless that’s built on the cost-effective CBRS shared spectrum… The private wireless network is ready and in position to power additional agricultural IoT devices and applications as they become available.”
Alon Ascher, chief business officer at Blue White Robotics, said: “When you introduce all of these devices and robotics for autonomous farming, it’s a massive amount of data in an extremely rural environment, and traditional connectivity becomes a huge problem. Managing a fleet of autonomous tractors and extracting data to different vendors in real time would not be possible without the private wireless network from Intel and Federated Wireless.”
Caroline Chan, vice president of the network and edge group and new business incubator division at Intel, said: “We’re extremely optimistic for what 5G edge solutions can enable for customers, helping them create new business and revenue models. This is made possible through strong industry collaborations with partners like Blue White Robotics and Federated Wireless. Each company brings unique offerings and expertise to create a private network solution that can not only transform agriculture but also scale to support other use cases in different sectors.”