John Deere has moved to strengthen the automation and autonomy capabilities of its machines with the acquisition of Bear Flag Robotics.
Deere & Company will pay $250 million USD for the Silicon Valley-based start-up.
Bear Flag Robotics has been developing and retrofitting advanced automation systems on existing tractors since 2017.
John Deere are no strangers to adopting new technology, with products like AutoTrac, JDLink and See & Spray Select released over the past decade.
And it's not the first time they have bought a start-up to bolster their capabilities.
In 2017 they purchased machine learning company Blue River Technology for $305m USD.
Bear Flag Robotics co-founder and CEO Igino Cafiero said Bear Flag was created to unlock greater efficiency in food production to feed a growing global population.
"One of the biggest challenges farmers face today is the availability of skilled labor to execute time-sensitive operations that impact farming outcomes. Autonomy offers a safe and productive alternative to address that challenge head on," Mr Cafiero said.
"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."
The company's team of agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists is focused on autonomy, sensor fusion, vision, data, software and hardware.
They first started working with John Deere in 2019 as part of the Startup Collaborator program.
John Deere chief technology officer Jahmy Hindman said autonomy is an important step forward in enabling farmers to leverage their resources strategically to feed the world and create more sustainable and profitable operations.
"Bear Flag's team of talented agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists have a proven ability to deliver advanced technology solutions to market," Mr Hindman said.
"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."
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