Fieldin acquires autonomous technology firm Midnight Robotics
By Chad Elmore29 November 2021
Move expected to enable an all-in-one robotic solution for farms.
Fieldin, a farm operations management company based in Fresno, Calif., has acquired Midnight Robotics, a developer of agricultural autonomous driving technology based in Tel Aviv, Isreal. The acquisition will combine a sensor-based operational farming platform with autonomous driving technologies. Terms were not disclosed.
Commercial farms today face a wide range of challenges, including labor scarcity, water shortages, and climate change and thus need to optimize operations and prioritize farming efficiency.
Fieldin said the addition of Midnight Robotics’ deep robotic and autonomous driving technology will enable an “all-in-one solution to maximize accuracy and productivity on the farm.” The platform collects ag data and turns it into actionable insights and now also offers guided decision-making and autonomous execution via driverless tractors and other machinery from the same dashboard. The onboarding of these new autonomous capabilities takes under a day, said the company, by retrofitting tractors and other machinery with Lidar-based autonomy kits that feed data back to the platform in real-time.
“Many people think that autonomous tractors are some magic solution, but at the end of the day, they’re just machinery — your autonomous farm can only be as good as your farm management data, and that’s why this acquisition is driving the autonomous farming revolution forward,” said Boaz Bachar, CEO and co-founder of Fieldin. “Over the past eight years we’ve digitized hundreds of farms and over 10,000 tractors and pieces of farming equipment— more than anyone else in the high-value crop world— and amassed a trove of invaluable data that can offer insights into best practices in farm management. By acquiring Midnight Robotics, we’re helping farmers close the loop from insight to autonomous action, so they know exactly what they need to do and execute it autonomously, all through the same platform.”
Founded by Yonatan Horovitz and Edo Reshef, veterans of Lidar specialist Innoviz Technologies, Midnight Robotics uses computer vision and AI to develop autonomous agricultural driving technology that complement Fieldin’s platform. The company’s core product is a retrofit kit that can transform any tractor to work autonomously using advanced LiDAR perception algorithms that enable a robust and reliable solution for autonomous operation and precise execution. Horovitz will join Fieldin as Chief Autonomy Officer, and Reshef will become the company’s Chief Technology Officer.
“It’s not enough to have great agricultural data or great autonomous technology — you need to have both to make autonomous farming a reality. What’s so powerful about this merger is the potent combination of Fieldin’s unparalleled farming data collection, which includes over 49 million hours’ worth of tractor driving, with our driverless technology expertise,” said Horovitz. “We’re excited to join forces with Fieldin because only together will we be able to help farmers reap the benefits of smart and autonomous farming — not a decade from now, but today.”
Founded in 2003, Fieldin offers a smart farming SaaS platform that uses sensor-based data to help growers improve production, operational transparency, and efficiency by monitoring field activities remotely and seamlessly integrating with existing technologies, equipment, and personnel to provide full visibility into day-to-day operations. The company said 30% of U.S.-based lettuce crops and 20% of the world’s almond crop run through its platform.