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Alphabet closes agricultural AI project, licenses technology to Driscoll's in the US

Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google LLC, has announced the cessation of its agricultural AI robot initiative, Mineral, which was part of Alphabet's moonshot technology lab, X. Launched in 2020, Mineral aimed to enhance crop yield and sustainability through the use of AI and robotic technology. Despite transitioning to an independent subsidiary, Mineral struggled to compete effectively in the market.

The startup's approach involved utilizing solar-powered robots equipped with cameras and AI algorithms to autonomously monitor and analyze crop fields. By integrating sensor data with external information like satellite imagery and weather conditions, the system aimed to provide farmers with detailed insights into their crops, enabling more efficient management of resources.

Initially, Mineral's technology was deployed to study a variety of crops across the United States, including soybeans in Illinois and strawberries in California. However, recent developments have led to Alphabet deciding to license some of Mineral's assets to Driscoll's Inc., a prominent berry producer that had previously collaborated with Mineral to enhance berry yield predictions.

While Alphabet is discontinuing Mineral as an independent entity, the technology will continue to be utilized within the agricultural sector through partnerships. Driscoll's has expressed disappointment over Alphabet's decision, but remains optimistic about the potential of the licensed technology to impact agriculture sustainably. Further collaborations between Mineral and other agricultural companies are anticipated, although specific details have yet to be disclosed.


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