Agfunder is reporting that Blue River Technology, a Californian startup developing robots to weed, thin and spray vegetable crops has raised another US$17 million from investors.
With stakeholders including Monsanto and Syngenta the company is developing machines that analyse and decide on treatment - spraying, thinning or weeding - and execute it in real time.
Agfunder reported the company claims this precision application of inputs will reduce the amount of chemicals used in agriculture by 90 per cent.
Use of the Blue River robots is already underway on about 10pc of the US lettuce crop with six machines doing their thing.
Using the "go-to-market" approach has seen Blue River already develop three generations of its machine within three years. Generation three is 100 times faster and more accurate than the first generation; it can process 5000 plants a minute, according to a company spokesman.
The company plans will move into other crops and is set to use the extra funding raised to hire engineering staff and develop the next generation robots that will be able to apply chemicals and nutrients that are beneficial to specific crops as well as weeding and thinning.