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John Deere is buying an AI startup to help teach its tractors how to farm

 

John Deere is purchasing Blue River Technology, a Californian startup that makes machine learning tools for agriculture. The acquisition (via Quartz) is worth $305 million, and is part of the tractor company’s multi-decade quest to automate farming. In the case of Blue River, what it’s buying is cutting-edge machine vision tools that help famers scan fields, assess crops, and get rid of weeds — all at the same time. Blue River’s key technology is called “see and spray.” It’s a set of cameras that fix onto crop sprayers and use deep learning to identify plants. If it sees a weed, it’ll hit it with pesticide; if it sees a crop, it’ll drop some fertilizer. All these parameters can be customized by the farmer, and Blue River claims it can……

 

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