Farming may not be the first industry that comes to mind when we think of technological advancement, but that's changing fast.
Agricultural giant John Deere, for instance, just spent $305 million to buy a robotics company. The farm machine manufacturer has been around for almost two centuries, but it too has felt the need to keep up with changing trends and tools, says Deanna Kovar, a marketing director for John Deere.
Its acquisition, Blue River Technology, is a startup that makes agricultural robots capable of identifying weeds and other unwanted plants, and dosing them with high-precision sprays of herbicide.
The smart sprayers operate much the same way as conventional spraying equipment, but these come equipped with computer vision, artificial intelligence and automated sprayers, with cameras that use machine-learning software to discern the difference between plants.
Machinery that doesn't require a human driver can reduce the weight and size of the equipment, thus compacting the ground less.
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