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Source: Facebook / John Deere

What John Deere's 'Lettuce Robot' Means For Green Agriculture

By Desirée Kaplan

Whether you've set foot on a farm or not, you may have seen images or videos of planes dumping gallons of pesticides across massive crop fields. Those pesticides and other chemicals are traditionally applied blindly across hundreds of acres at a time. Why? Because it would otherwise be immensely expensive and time-consuming to find and destroy every weed one by one. Luckily, robots are here to help.

Blue River Technology, a robotics group, created a system that can spot and kill weeds with excellent precision. How does this work? Basically, the robot is towed behind a tractor and uses its cameras to automatically identify, target, and destroy weeds with nearly perfect accuracy. 

John Deere has recently given the term ‘seed money’ a whole new meaning, as they’ve just invested $305 million in acquiring a startup company which has created a solution for this inefficient weed control method. This major acquisition is a recent example of how the agricultural industry is starting to take machine learning very seriously.