John Deere announces investment in tech company Blue River Technology

John Deere announces investment in tech company Blue River Technology”

John Deere has always been known for its iconic green tractors, combines, balers, and other farming equipment. Machine learning is an "important capability for Deere's future", the company explains - this is about making the technology an integral part of its equipment.

So what exactly is crop-spraying equipment that's powered by machine learning?

Beyond the fact that this buys the heavy equipment manufacturer a 60-person office in Silicon Valley, Deere says it is confident that the technology can be applied on "a wider range" of products as well. The company believes Blue River's robots, which affix to tractors, can deliver a higher degree of automation to farmers when combined with its own technology.

John Deere announced Wednesday an investment worth more than $300 million in a tech company that specializes in agriculture.

"We've been working together for about a year and a half, just to make sure that our strategies aligned", John May, president of agricultural solutions and CIO at Deere, told Fortune. Blue River also said LettuceBot enables the use of non-GMO seeds and chemicals that were previously too expensive for broad use.

Deere, established in 1837, already sells technology that uses Global Positioning System to automate tractor movements across a field to sub-inch accuracy.

The deal is expected to close later this month.

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