May 4, 2021

PrecisionAI 400x275Precision AI, a computer vision and robotics company dedicated to sustainable farming practices, has announced closing $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. The new financing will support the company’s work on a disruptive precision farming platform that deploys swarms of artificially intelligent drones to dramatically reduce herbicide use in row crop agriculture.

The company’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, Precision AI said. The company’s 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 an indiscriminate broadcast application of herbicide.”

The company said herbicide spraying is one of the least efficient agricultural activities, with more than 80% wasted on bare ground, and another 15% landing on crops. While competitors have focused on high-value, low acreage crops, Precision AI said its approach to drone swarming allows for application on large acreage crops at a much lower cost than traditional large farming machinery. The company holds the promise to reduce pesticide use by up to 95% while maintaining crop yield, and save farmers up to $52 per acre per growing season. “The cost savings are massive,” said McCann, “and the affordable unit economics of drones makes the technology accessible to even the smallest farm.”

The platform can also increase producer competitiveness in the global market, with integrated food supply chain traceability and proof of sustainable farming practices, Precision AI said.

“Autonomous, precision spraying is the future of modern agriculture, and Precision AI’s best-in-class technology stack and deep management expertise have the potential to accelerate the development of this industry in exciting ways,” said Kevin Lockett, partner at Fulcrum Global Capital. “With an increasingly informed consuming public demanding greater transparency into the food it eats, we are excited to partner with Precision AI and the other co-investors in commercializing multiple ways to reduce the use of traditional chemicals within our food system while increasing sustainability and farmer profitability.”

In addition to Fulcrum, At One Ventures and BDC Capital, investments from Golden Opportunities Fund, Sustainable Development Technology Canada and Protein Industries Canada were also involved in the round.

More details on Precision AI and its technologies are available at its website.