Will start-up Farming Revolution keep its word?

Will start-up Farming Revolution keep its word?
Will start-up Farming Revolution keep its word?

Farming Revolution is a start-up with over 11 years of autonomous experience and know-how that claims to have the largest plant image database in the world. Will this revolutionise future farming?

Farming Revolution is a German start-up that recently spun-off the Deepfield Robotics project from Bosch. Their ‘revolution’ started quite a while ago already when the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and German machine manufacturer Amazone launched the BoniRob swarm robot back in 2009.

The developments were later transferred to Bosch as Deepfield Robotics and last year to Farming Revolution. Deepfield Robotics was one of the 6 finalists (out of 650 contestants) of last year’s BayWa and RWA Robotic Challenge. At that time, their plant database contained 4.3 million images enabling their weeding robots to distinguish between 35 different plant species. Currently, that database has expanded to 12 million annotated plant images and is, according to the company, the largest plant image database in the world.

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“Weeding in-row is a real problem for farmers and our robot is the only robot that can recognise and mechanically remove weeds in-row for non-transplanted crops (recognition in transplanted crops is straightforward).” - Photo: Farming Revolution

“Weeding in-row is a real problem for farmers and our robot is the only robot that can recognise and mechanically remove weeds in-row for non-transplanted crops (recognition in transplanted crops is straightforward).” – Photo: Farming Revolution

Keeping fields weed-free

With its plant images database, the company plans to offer weeding as a service, keeping fields free of weeds with a mechanical solution, similar to how a human removes weed. The initial focus is on sugar beet and specialty crops in which the robot removes weeds between and in the crop rows. Farmers hiring the service pay a fee per hectare.

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Machine manufacturer Amazone has been showcasing the BoniRob swarm robot on its booth at the German Agritechnica exhibition since the introduction in 2009. This photo shows it at last year’s edition. - Photo: René Koerhuis

Machine manufacturer Amazone has been showcasing the BoniRob swarm robot on its booth at the German Agritechnica exhibition since the introduction in 2009. This photo shows it at last year’s edition. – Photo: René Koerhuis

Organic farmers

Organic farmers are the main target group of the weeding service as ‘one of the main pain points of organic farmers is to get rid of weeds without using herbicides. There is labour shortage, organisational efforts and huge costs associated with manual weeding by seasonal workers.’

According to Farming Revolution, simply replacing a tractor does not bring a large benefit to farmers. “Weeding in-row is a real problem for farmers and our robot is the only robot that can recognise and mechanically remove weeds in-row for non-transplanted crops (recognition in transplanted crops is straightforward).”

Koerhuis
René Koerhuis Precision Farming Specialist