Farm-ng Inc., which has developed robotics hardware and software to help farmers grow food profitably, this week announced its latest round of funding. It said it will use the investment to scale up production of its Amiga modular, electric micro-tractor.
The Watsonville, Calif.-based company also plans to further develop autonomous navigation for agricultural operations including harvesting, towing, cultivating, hauling, feeding, and spraying.
Farm-ng said it is building “general-purpose, off-road robotics.” The company stated that its mission is “to transform the food system by democratizing access for the smallest farmer to cutting-edge robotics technology.”
Amiga uses lunar navigation for agriculture
The Amiga is farm-ng's flagship product, designed as a modular, affordable electric vehicle for farms big and small. The system uses GPS-denied vision navigation technologies that the company developed for the landing of the Blue Ghost spacecraft on a precise location on the Moon’s surface.
The Amiga incorporates the latest in precision agriculture techniques to maximize yields while reducing workload, facilitating data collection, improving safety, and reducing soil compaction, claimed farm-ng. Farmers can adjust the system to different row widths, and it can accommodate a wide variety of add-on tools.
In addition, the Amiga can be ridden or operated remotely, said the company. As the vehicle becomes fully autonomous, it will further improve profitability and contribute to the overall health of food-production systems, farm-ng noted.
Farmers such as Jacobs Del Cabo are already using the Amiga to produce organic vegetables and culinary herbs. The robotic system reduces the need for manual labor for seeding, compost spreading, cultivating, and hauling materials around the farm.
Farm-ng was named the winner of the 2023 Small Farm Innovation Challenge, hosted annually by the nonprofit Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). Farm-ng is also an anchor partner of the Farm Robotics Challenge, a robotics competition involving top U.S. university agriculture programs.
Xplorer Capital leads farm-ng funding
Xplorer Capital led the funding in farm-ng. It said it is an early-stage venture capital firm that invests in entrepreneurs and technologies that promise to transform industries on a global scale.
Portfolio companies of Xplorer Capital are leading advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation to benefit industries such as logistics, manufacturing, agriculture, and sustainability.
“Farm-ng's farm robots have the potential to revolutionize the design of the tractor,” said Jonathan McQueen, co-founder and managing partner at Xplorer Capital. “We are particularly excited by the potential to help diverse farms compete with larger, more intensive farms.”
“We partnered with Xplorer Capital, a team with strong experience developing and scaling robotic machines, to bring to life our vision for transforming the food system,” added Ethan Rublee, CEO of farm-ng.