John Deere buys autonomous tech startup Bear Flag Robotics

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John Deere is set to acquire Bear Flag Robotics for US$250 million. The startup develops autonomous driving technology compatible with existing machines.

“Deere views autonomy as an important step forward in enabling farmers to leverage their resources strategically to feed the world and create more sustainable and profitable operations,” says Jahmy Hindman, chief technology officer at John Deere. “Bear Flag’s team of talented agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists have a proven ability to deliver advanced technology solutions to market. Joining that expertise and experience with Deere’s expertise in autonomy, along with our world-class dealer channel, will accelerate the delivery of solutions to farmers that address the immense challenge of feeding a growing world.”

Deere first started working with Bear Flag in 2019 as part of the company’s Startup Collaborator program, an initiative focused on enhancing work with startup companies whose technology could add value for Deere customers. Since then, Bear Flag has successfully deployed its autonomous solution on a limited number of farms in the U.S.

“One of the biggest challenges farmers face today is the availability of skilled labour to execute time-sensitive operations that impact farming outcomes. Autonomy offers a safe and productive alternative to address that challenge head on,” says Igino Cafiero, co-founder and CEO of Bear Flag Robotics. “Bear Flag’s mission to increase global food production and reduce the cost of growing food through machine automation is aligned with Deere’s and we’re excited to join the Deere team to bring autonomy to more farms.”

The Bear Flag team will remain in Silicon Valley, where the company is based.

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