Mineral Boosts Agricultural Understanding
by Tech Mainstream
March 12, 2021
Zucchini Blossoms, Image/Tech Mainstream
X, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., is currently developing Mineral: "Mineral is developing new technologies to help build a more sustainable, resilient, and productive food system."
That said, Mineral's essential mission is "to meet the world’s growing demand for food, we need to change what we grow and how we grow it." Indeed, over the next 50 years global agriculture will need to produce more food than in the previous 10,000 years. Overuse of fertilizers and chemicals and lack of plant diversity ultimately reduce agricultural productivity: "The Mineral team saw an opportunity to build new tools to help breeders and growers embrace the complexities of growing food."
A prototype low-emission, electric powered plant buggy was developed that rolls through farm fields, closely inspecting crops:
"By combining the imagery gathered by the plant buggy with other data sets like satellite imagery, weather data, and soil information, the team is able to create a full picture of what’s happening in the field and use machine learning to identify patterns and useful insights into how plants grow and interact with their environment."
The plant buggy uses GPS software to identify the precise location of plants in the field. The plant buggy's cameras and machine perception tools can help identify issues in the field and examine plant traits. The buggy comes in multiple shapes and sizes so that it can traverse fields with variable crops.
* X is a diverse group of inventors and entrepreneurs who build and launch technologies that aim to improve the lives of millions, even billions, of people.