Autonomous tractor startup looks to future of farming

September 10, 2018 // By Rich Pell
AgTech company Bear Flag Robotics (Sunnyvale, CA) has raised $3.5 million in a seed funding round with the aim to bring autonomous technology to farm machines to increase crop yields, lower operational costs, and lay the groundwork for more sustainable food production.

The company is developing autonomous technology for farms, designed to help growers lower operational costs and increase yields. Specifically, its autonomous driving technology for farm tractors allows growers to automate common tasks and improve efficiency of operations.

Autonomous robots, says the company, could potentially lower labor expenses and also increase yields by up to 15%. Projected yield gains are possible through the reduced soil compaction of smaller tractors - gains that cannot be realized with today's high cost of labor.

The company's autonomous driving technology for farm tractors is designed to solve these problems by equipping tractors and implements with technology that allows growers to automate many of their most common tasks, including spraying and mowing operations in specialty crops such as nuts, fruits, and grapes, in addition to common ground prep tasks such as discing and ripping. The technology, says the company, enables a single supervisor to operate a fleet of vehicles, where previously an entire crew was required.

"We're incredibly interested in how automation and technology can fundamentally aid the farmer in their constant struggle against the elements including changing climate patterns and soil health," says Rohit Sharma, venture partner at True Ventures, which led the funding round. "Bear Flag's autonomous driving technology for farm machines can increase crop yields, lower operational costs, and ultimately lay the groundwork for more sustainable food production."

Bear Flag will provide leasing options to growers who wish to operate their own fleet of autonomous equipment. In addition, the company will offer both full-service and hybrid models, where operations are supervised by a central location. Operations are expected to begin by the end of 2018.

As part of the capital raise, Rohit Sharma will join the company's board. Including this round of funding, the company has raised $4.5 million total since it founded last year.

Bear Flag Robotics

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