It was going to be a big couple of years for agricultural robotics well before COVID-19 was on our collective radar. Population growth and environmental concerns have been big drivers for those working to figure out how to feed people in the future. The pandemic, meanwhile, has only accelerated concerns, as many farmers have struggled to staff field-hand positions.
Fieldin -- which made its first appearance on these pages as a Tel Aviv pitch-off winner back in 2016 -- today announced plans to acquire Midnight Robotics. It’s certainly a good match on its face. California-based (by way of Israel and Australia) Fieldin works to help farmers accelerate data collection and automation. Midnight, meanwhile, retrofits tractors and other farming equipment with lidar-based sensing technologies.
Fieldin says its technology takes around a day to get up and running. As with many of these services, the company sends a technician to the farm to help on-board farmers. On the face of it, at least, it’s an easier life than many of the existing technologies that require famers to purchase brand new technology -- something that’s cost-prohibitive for those on a tight budget.
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The acquisition will integrate Midnight’s technology into Fieldin’s existing solution.
“Over the past eight years we’ve digitized hundreds of farms and over 10,000 tractors and pieces of farming equipment — more than anyone else in the high-value crop world — and amassed a trove of invaluable data that can offer insights into best practices in farm management,” Fieldin co-founder and CEO Boaz Bachar said in a release. “By acquiring Midnight Robotics, we’re helping farmers close the loop from insight to autonomous action, so they know exactly what they need to do and execute it autonomously, all through the same platform.”
Midnight co-founders Yonatan Horovitz and Edo Reshef will join Fieldin as chief autonomy office and chief technology officer, respectively. They will also both be listed as Fieldin co-founders, per the deal.