Photo: KWS Group

The Agriculture Technology industry continues to grow in the United States. New technologies are being developed left and right that enable farms to be more efficient and, in turn, more profitable. Many companies are also working to green the ag industry. AI is giving large farms the ability to be greener and allowing small farms to be profitable again by adjusting the current economic model.

The Company EarthSense develops autonomous robots that can navigate through vast crop fields identifying problems such as weeds, and plant biomass with LIDAR Sensors. The robots use Machine Learning to improve their capabilities over time. EarthSense, located in Champaign, Il, has been gaining a lot of publicity after the release of their robot in 2018. The 2019 model has improved Hardware, Software, and analytics based on the early adopter’s user experience.

The ability to pull weeds on a farm with robots allows farms to use little to no pesticides in a time where the industry continues to face the problem of needing increasingly harmful pesticides to combat herbicide-resistant weeds. If the TerraSentia, and other machine learning robots, were implemented broadly it could have significant positive impacts for the environment. Reducing agriculture runoff into streams and rivers would make water sources cleaner and more habitable for wildlife, reducing pesticide use would be better for our air and human health, and a healthier crop would ultimately mean more profits for farmers.

Currently most of the emphasis in this industry is placed on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), commonly referred to as Drones, when it comes to farm tech. Drones have the ability to have an enormous positive impact on the ag industry with their ability to conduct field analysis’, planting, crop spraying, crop monitoring, irrigation, and detect plant health.

While drones may be able to do a lot of good, they aren’t able to easily collect data under the canopy. On the ground robots can monitor crops up close where drones can’t reach. The precision technology in ag industry is predicted to reach $6.43 billion by 2022, allowing companies like EarthSense to become considerable players in the Ag industry in the coming years. Two things are on the rise in Agriculture, making the industry more sustainable and artificial intelligence. These two things have the ability to work harmoniously to make the industry more sustainable while also heading into a new technological age,