ARDEN HILLS, Mn. – Land O’Lakes Inc. wants tech innovator to develop proposed solutions that will let farmers use autonomous drones to help develop precision agriculture.
The agribusiness giant has launched the Land O’Lakes Drone Challenge with a prize of $140,000 to a grand-prize winner, and two $5,000 prizes for two runners-up. Winners will retain intellectual property rights to the solutions they develop to help farmers use drone technology more effectively. The company is hosting the competition in collaboration with HeroX, a crowdsourcing platform provider. Entries close Aug. 1.
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“We’re offering the Land O’Lakes Prize to accelerate the development of drones for the ag industry,” states Mike Macrie, chief information officer of Land O’Lakes. “We believe with a few more years of work and the direction we’re providing, backed by insights from our network of 300,000 farmers, we can create a marketplace for drones that ultimately creates better solutions for the farming community.”
As a farmer-owned cooperative, Land O’Lakes offers its member-owners an agtech portfolio through its Geosys and WinField United businesses, which include tools such as the R7 by WinField. By combining its existing imagery and precision agriculture tools with an automated, scalable drone solution, the company says it could provide more valuable decision-making data to farmers.
Working with judges from the University of Minnesota and WinField United agtech experts, Land O’Lakes will invite finalists to attend a live demonstration event at an FAA approved test location.
Performance at the event will support the determination of the winners.