Blue River Technology
Talk Title: Big Machines Caring for Little Plants: How Robotics is Changing Agriculture
Abstract: Advances in computer vision and machine learning have opened up new possibilities in a number of exciting areas, including very traditional fields such as agriculture. This talk describes work being done to use sensors and real-time action to transform agricultural practices from a one-size-fits-all approach where whole fields are treated uniformly to a plant-by-plant approach where every plant is treated and cared for individually. In addition, highly precise GPS and advances in data processing and storage enable new ways of utilizing information across many of the operations found in farming. All of this leads to an exciting area of rapid expansion where cutting edge tools and technology from robotics are being incorporated into products that impact the very food that we eat.
Bio: Dr. Jim Ostrowski is Vice President of Engineering for Blue River Technology, a Sunnyvale-based company working to bring tools from computer vision and robotics to bear in agriculture. Blue River Technology, which was recently acquired by John Deere in September, 2017, is focused on developing See & Spray technology that provides real-time weed detection and spraying and can reduce herbicide usage by 90%. Before that, Jim worked for Evolution Robotics, which later became Evolution Robotics Retail, before being acquired by Datalogic. Jim’s field of expertise includes mobile robotics, nonlinear dynamics, and vision-based recognition and control. Before joining the start-up world, Jim was at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the General Robotics, Sensing, Automation and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. He is a former Associate Editor for the journal IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation, was the recipient of the NSF CAREER Young Investigator Award for his work in robotics, and received a Datalogic VIP award for his technical work on the LaneHawk product.