Augmenta, the company behind an AI-driven autonomous variable rate application of farm inputs, announced the completion of a $2.5m Seed Financing round led by San Francisco based Hardware Club and Athens based Marathon Venture Capital. The investment will help the company expand its operations in North and South America and deliver against rapidly growing demand.
In an era of climate change and rapid population growth, farmers have never before been asked to produce more with less.
There is an evident need for easy-to-use, inexpensive and reliable solutions that enable farmers to treat every inch of their farm according to actual needs, even if those farming operations are large. A lot of companies have tried to solve this problem in the past, most of which created services around aerial imagery taken from satellites, planes, or drones. However, the widespread adoption of this approach has - for the most part - failed because of the complexity and cost it adds to farming.
Augmenta has approached the same problem but from a different angle. Its 6 to 12 multispectral camera system retrofits to already owned agricultural machinery like tractors, sprayers or spreaders. By utilizing instantaneous image processing and AI, the system decides on the amount of farm inputs (e.g. fertilizers) every inch of the field actually needs and immediately applies it by controlling the rate of sprayer/spreader application, through various machinery communication protocols (e.g. ISOBUS).
Achieving a resolution of 1.5mm/pixel/camera, Augmenta’s first offering makes an operation like fertilizing with Nitrogen 100% autonomous and one order of magnitude more efficient compared to traditional applications. Importantly, the system is designed to work according to normal farm operation schedules, without the need for any additional time-consuming procedures, such as logistics and elaborate calibrations. The farmers simply have to drive their tractor, sprayer or spreader on the farm like they always do and Augmenta takes care of the rest.
Augmenta released the alpha version of the product at the 2019 World Ag Expo in Tulare, California with great success. It has already been installed and tested in eight different countries and used on more than 26 thousand acres.
Augmenta’s offering is now commercially available, automating one of the most important operations of cereal farming, Nitrogen fertilization. Augmenta R&D team is currently working on additional crop operations like crop protection spraying, as well as specialized operations in vineyards and industrial tomato farms. New operations will be offered via over-the-air software updates, eliminating the need to buy extra hardware.