John Deere acquires robotics company for $250m

John Deere has signed an agreement to acquire Bear Flag Robotics for $250 million.

Founded in 2017, the Silicon Valley-based startup develops autonomous driving technology compatible with existing machines.

John Deere has said that the deal accelerates the development and delivery of automation on the farm and supports its long-term strategy to create “smarter machines” with advanced technology to support individual customer needs.

Jahmy Hindman, chief technology officer at John Deere said: “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.

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,” he added.

John Deere collaboration

Deere first started working with Bear Flag in 2019 as part of the company’s ‘Startup Collaborator’ programme.

This is an initiative focused on enhancing work with startup companies whose technology could add value for Deere customers.

Since then, Bear Flag has deployed its autonomous solution on a limited number of farms in the U.S.

Igino Cafiero, co-founder and CEO of Bear Flag Robotics said: “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.

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.”

Bear Flag Robotics

The Bear Flag team consists of agriculture professionals, engineers and technologists focused on autonomy, sensor fusion, vision, data, software and hardware.

They will remain in Silicon Valley where they will work closely with Deere to accelerate innovation and autonomy for customers across the world.

Dan Leibfried, director – automation and autonomy at Deere said: “Deere and Bear Flag are highly complementary from both a technology and mission perspective.

We look forward to working even closer together with the ultimate goal of helping farmers achieve the best possible outcomes through advanced technology like autonomy.”