SwarmFarm Robotics, the leader in Integrated Autonomy for agriculture, announced today that it crossed a significant milestone by successfully covering one million acres, 55,000 hours of operation, and has reduced pesticide inputs by an estimated 580 tons with its autonomous robots. These figures set SwarmFarm apart as the sole leader in a farmer-led movement that is happening whether operators are along for the ride - or not.
A recent article published by Precision Farming Dealer stated that Raven Technologies had accumulated 8,000 hours of operational time, covering 69,000 acres. The same piece cited Blue-White Robotics as completing 10,000 hours of safe operation, and Monarch tractor with 1,300 operating hours.
"We are excited to hear people talking more and more about the future of autonomy in agriculture - it's great for our category," said Andrew Bate, CEO of SwarmFarm Robotics. "We also want to ensure people understand that a significant portion of the future they're discussing is here today. The era of Integrated Autonomy in agriculture has arrived, and we have now clearly demonstrated that fact across more than one million acres of farmland."
While most solutions in farm autonomy settle neatly into the categories of either driverless tractors or hyper-niche specialty robots built to complete a singular type of task on-farm, SwarmFarm's Integrated Autonomy solution puts the farmer first with an autonomous platform and simultaneously enables them to get farm work done without an operator and provides optionality for specific application systems.
"Over the last 50 years, farm technology has transformed from simple analog solutions to farm-centric autonomy," said Bate. "The problem with much of what we farmers encounter in autonomy today are products that are built to impress investors, engineers, and technology buffs. We are flipping that script to create a system that immediately provides the farmer with functional field partners to help drive a successful season as well as a platform that gives them a clear path to adopt and scale their use of precision equipment technology. Most solutions start with technology and end with the farmer, we're starting with the farmer and bringing them technology at their own pace, allowing the most effective tools to be adopted."
Born on the farm, SwarmFarm exists to solve a complex problem set many farmers are facing around the world today: how to grow better crops and the optimal amount of food on their land without putting down excessive amounts of chemical or acquiring larger and larger equipment.
"We hit a point where we just said enough is enough," said Bate. "We saw our input costs increasing, our equipment costs rising as we bought larger equipment, our dependence on pesticides rising, and our yields declining in spite of it all. There was a day where we sat down and realized that this wasn't an equation that needed incremental change, we needed an entirely new system of farming - and SwarmFarm was the solution."
SwarmFarm was founded by Bate and his wife, Jocie, in 2012 with a clear vision to create better farming systems and unlock the promise of autonomous agriculture. The first SwarmBot was completed in 2014 and the company's first precision spray equipment was developed in 2015. From 2015 to 2018, SwarmFarm developed 11 prototypes that were used in their field contracting service, to spray weeds for grain and cotton farmers. In 2018, the company began commercially delivering SwarmBots to farmers.
"I am proud to see where we began and where we are today," said Bate. "We know we have more barriers to cross, more ground to cover, and more products to build, but this is a great moment to pause and appreciate all that we've been able to accomplish as we prepare to accelerate our growth."