Regina-based Precision AI, a computer vision and robotics company “empowering sustainable farming practices,” announced today the closing of $20 million in equity and grant funding.
The seed round was co-led by At One Ventures, founded by GoogleX co-founder Tom Chi, and the Industrial Innovation Venture Fund of BDC Capital. Also participating were Fulcrum Global Capital, Golden Opportunities Fund, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Protein Industries Canada.
The financing will support what the company described as “the advancement of a disruptive precision farming platform that deploys swarms of artificially intelligent drones to dramatically reduce herbicide use in row crop agriculture.”
According to a release, Precision AI’s drone-based computer vision technology “enables surgically precise application of herbicide to individual weeds in row crop farming. By spraying only weeds and avoiding the crop, yields can be maintained at a fraction of the chemical cost.”
Ultimately, the company’s said its vision is to “deploy hives of intelligent drones that will automate the crop protection process throughout the entire growing season, optimizing every square inch of farmland on a per-plant basis.”
“Farms of the future must be sustainable and produce healthier foods,” said Daniel McCann, CEO and founder of Precision AI. “Using artificial intelligence to target individual weeds is a quantum leap in efficiency and sustainability over today’s practices of indiscriminate broadcast application of herbicide.”
Herbicide spraying is one of the least efficient agricultural activities, with over 80% wasted on bare ground and another 15% falling on the crop, a release stated.
While competitors have focused on high-value, low acreage crops, Precision AI’s said “its disruptive approach to drone swarming allows for application on large acreage crops at a much lower cost than traditional large farming machinery. It holds the promise to reduce pesticide use by up to 95% while maintaining crop yield and saving farmers up to $52 per acre per growing season.”
The cost savings, said McCann, are “massive and the affordable unit economics of drones makes the technology accessible to even the smallest farm.”