Blue River Technology: Machine learning 


What happens when machine learning and robotics are applied to agriculture? Blue River Technology is a new subsidiary of John Deere. This American company primarily produces agricultural and construction machinery. Blue River Technology is based in Sunnyvale. Blue river technology has grown significantly since the 2017 acquisition. They have gained access to top-notch equipment manufacturing experience. Blue River is committed to helping the world feed its hungry while maintaining their startup spirit.

Robotics at Blue River Technology

What does blue river technology bring John Deere? The company calls their projects computer vision, machine-learning, and robotics.

Blue River Technology: What are they Building?

Blue River is a company that applies machine learning, robotics and computer vision technology to agricultural equipment. This will help farmers make better decisions. Their main product, See & Spray uses machine learning, computer vision, and advanced robotic technology for distinguishing between crops and weeds. Then, it sprays only the weeds.

Jorge Heraud CEO, says that the machine “processes images of plants more then 20 times per second while moving 12 mph through a field, comparing them with an expanding library of over 1,000,000 images.” The front cameras make quick judgments using machine learning and computer vision. Meanwhile, the rear cameras calibrate the system for any adjustments. Blue River anticipates that this technology will reduce herbicide usage by as much as 80 percent. This will improve sustainability and drive customer profitability. See & Spray is currently being field tested.

“Longer term we are looking at ways to extend this ultra-precise method to other material applications in agriculture, such as insecticides and fungicides. This will provide engineers with more opportunities to work on technology that has global impact.

Work in Blue River Technology Progress

Nicole reminds us that farmers have a lot to do. “Farmers produce almost all of the food we eat. But their success directly impacts their bottom line.”

Farmers tend to manage large numbers of plants and fields. To maximize their yields, they must reevaluate the herbicide distribution plant-by-plant. Farmers tend to use a “one-size fits all” approach that sprays their entire field with one uniform solution. However, this can lead to the application of unnecessary herbicides, which can be costly, and it exposes crops to herbicides meant to control weeds.

Blue River Technology offers a different approach. It allows you to customize where herbicides are applied at the plant level, which reduces resistance and creates long-term viability.

The Near Future

This technology will be available in the field much sooner than you might think. Blue River will continue to improve and test their designs over the coming months. They will also be gathering feedback from customers on a larger scale as they move towards commercialization.

Jorge says that we are also working on computer vision algorithms and new sensors, as well cutting-edge machine learning methods. “With that, I’m working on the integration mechanical, electrical and software technology on machines outside in the dirt and rugged conditions, while moving at speeds exceeding ten miles an hour.”

Many companies see the application of machine learning and computer vision in commercially-available products as a long-term goal. Blue River doesn’t believe this technology is a mere theory. Blue River employees are committed to creating products and innovations that have a real impact on the real world. They can also see the benefits in the field.

Jorge says that producing food is a critical task and is complicated by the unpredictability and variability farmers face every day. “Additionally, the world’s population is growing while the area of arable land shrinks. Farmers need to be smarter and more precise in their farming. Our products can greatly increase efficacy, crop yields, and environmental sustainability. They also help to control costs. They’re looking for people to hire

Blue River offers engineers the opportunity to join a team that isn’t just developing cutting-edge technology, but also helping to transform one industry that has a direct impact on every person in the world.

Nicole states, “As we grow, we are actively seeking to hire software, machine learning, and hardware engineers that are interested working on projects that have a tangible effect on people around the globe.” Blue River is a highly collaborative culture. The ideal candidate will appreciate cross-functional teamwork as well as taking risks.

Blue River is looking for people with a passion for social change and a technical background. Berkeley Master of Engineering, which has both leadership and engineering components, is a program that prepares graduates to enter the workforce with both communication and technical tools.

Nicole says that one of the greatest challenges in hiring is to find the right talent who understands both. Solid partnerships with programs like [the Berkeley MEng] have proven to be successful in expanding our candidate pipeline and keeping us in touch with the market so that we can adapt and grow.