In 2011, two Stanford graduate students, Jorge (the former head of precision agriculture at Trimble) and Lee (a PhD student and roboticist), met while taking Steve Blank's Lean LaunchPad course. They converged on a wild ambition: to make farming more sustainable through robotics and computer vision. Together, they built and tested their idea in California's Central Valley - proving the applicability of machine learning, computer vision, and robotics to the field of agriculture. With an idea, support from friends & family, and a grant from the NSF, Blue River Technology was born.
The first smart machine—the lettuce bot—focused on lettuce thinning, a traditionally time-intensive and expensive task of eliminating unwanted lettuce seedlings, The lettuce bot automated this arduous process by taking images, identifying which plants to remove, spraying them, and verifying the accuracy and performance of the system, all in real time.
See & Spray is the next generation of Blue River's technology. See & Spray machines leverage deep learning to enable our machines to identify a greater variety of plants—both crops & weeds—with better accuracy, and then make crop management decisions on the spot. Custom nozzle designs enable <1-inch spray resolution, and powerful software powers faster and more agile crop protection. See & Spray is currently operating in weeding for cotton and soybeans.