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Alphabet Trialing Solar-Paneled, Robotic Buggies to Inspect Crops

Alphabet's solar-powered electric buggies at work in the field.

Alphabet's Mineral project plans to use low-emission electric buggies to monitor crops on farmland.

Credit: Mineral

Google parent Alphabet is piloting a project to revolutionize agriculture and food production.

The company’s Mineral initiative aims to use solar-powered electric buggies to travel across fields and locate plants using global positioning system software; cameras and other "machine perception tools" then collect crop data.

The system combines the robot-acquired data with information on weather and soil health, in order to "help breeders understand and predict how different varieties of plants respond to their environments."

Said Alphabet’s Elliot Grant, “Just as the microscope led to a transformation in how diseases are detected and managed, we hope that better tools will enable the agriculture industry to transform how food is grown.”

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