SwarmFarm Robotics announced Feb. 14 it has raised a $12 million AUD Series A ($8.3 million USD) to develop and grow the Integrated Autonomy category in agriculture through the versatile SwarmBot platform and a breakthrough operating system network, SwarmConnect, that enables developers to create an array of innovative applications for users of the autonomous platform. The company was founded in 2015 near Emerald, Queensland, in Australia.

"There is enormous demand for autonomy in agriculture, but today, most solutions unlock minimal potential," said SwarmFarm CEO Andrew Bate. "The current equipment providers believe that farmers just want to be plucked from the cab or replaced by robotic arms. We believe that farmers want more. They want a technology ecosystem built to address the issues in their locality, a farm-centric system that leaves the lowest possible footprint on their fields, helping them do more with less. They want Integrated Autonomy, so that's what we're building."

The team at SwarmFarm defines Integrated Autonomy as a new approach to autonomy on-farm that unlocks the full potential of driverless technology by providing specialty robotics solutions with an open platform to develop on.

"While many companies are making driverless tractors and developing niche robotics solutions in agriculture today, we believe that there is a third category of autonomy that combines the robot and the application within a development framework that will allow farmers to customize their equipment for their needs and allow developers to bring their innovations to life much more rapidly," said Bate. "It's the best of both worlds. For the farmer, we provide customized autonomy in a box. For the developer, we provide a streamlined path to the grower with a tight feedback loop."

The company's Series A funding round was led by Emmertech, an AgTech fund from Conexus Venture Capital based in Canada. The funding also sees new investment from Tribe Global Ventures and Access Capital. Also joining the round are SwarmFarm's existing investors, including Tenacious Ventures, and GrainInnovate, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) venture capital fund managed by Artesian.

SwarmFarm announced last year that SwarmBots had successfully been deployed to farmers who covered over 1.3 million commercial acres, operated for 64,000 hours, and reduced pesticide inputs by an estimated 780 tons.

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