John Deere buys Bear Flag Robotics

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Deere says its autonomous farm machinery ambitions will get a boost with the acquisition of the Silicon Valley tech company

John Deere buys Bear Flag Robotics
John Deere has sought to accelerate its development of autonomous farm technology with the acquisition of Bear Flag Robotics for a sum worth $250million USD.


John Deere has bought US-based Bear Flag Robotics for US$250 million in a move it says will accelerate its development of autonomous farm technology.

Deere says the acquisition will let it further develop its autonomous agriculture technologies while also supporting the prosperity of the global farming sector.

Bear Flag Robotics, a Silicon Valley start-up founded in 2017, has developed autonomous driving technology which is compatible with existing machines, something which John Deere chief technology offer, Jahmy Hindman, says will be beneficial for Deere’s strategy.

"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," Hindman says.

"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 Robotics boasts a team consisting of agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists, with expertise ranging across areas such as autonomy, sensor fusion, vision, data, software and hardware.

Following the acquisition, Bear Flag will continue to work in Silicon Valley while working with John Deere in order to fasten autonomy and innovation of ag machinery.

Bear Flag Robotics chief executive Igino Cafiero says the organisation – which specialises in food production – will benefit from the deal.

"One of the biggest challenges farmers face today is the availability of skilled labour to execute time-sensitive operations that impact farming outcomes. Autonomy offers a safe and productive alternative to address that challenge head on," Cafiero says.

"Bear Flag's mission to increase global food production and reduce the cost of growing food through machine automation is aligned with Deere's and we're excited to join the Deere team to bring autonomy to more farms."

John Deere and Bear Flags Robotics first partnered in 2019 as part of the former’s Start-up Collaborator program – a year-long partnership which saw both parties test innovative technologies with dealers and customers, without any formal business relationship in place.

Through the program, Deere aims to enhance and deepen its interaction with companies while the start-ups also gain affiliation with the agricultural manufacturer.

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