Deere & Co has announced that is acquiring the maker of LettuceBot, Blue River Technology, to increase its machine learning capabilities across farm equipment. The acquisition also was announced Wednesday afternoon to the company's 60-person staff by leadership from Blue River Technology and Deere. The transaction is expected to close in September.
Blue River said that LettuceBot covers 10 percent of the United States lettuce crop, with the machine capable of handling 1 million plants per hour.
The agtech company claims results are a 5 to 10 percent increase in yield, as well as up to 90 percent reduction in the amount of chemicals used on farms. Blue River also said LettuceBot enables the use of non-GMO seeds and chemicals that were previously too expensive for broad use.
John May, CIO at Deere, said he is "confident" that Blue River's technology can be used in the future on a wider range of products.
The Blue River Technology staff will remain in Sunnyvale and retain its brand, and will be a standalone business of Deere. Its goal will be to continue to innovate and grow the artificial intelligence technology.