In incubation for five years within Alphabet’s ‘X – Moonshot Factory’, Project Mineral is now an Alphabet company of its own. Its name? Well ‘Mineral’ of course. The new technology company will continue to build upon previous work in gathering high-res crop images, analysing plant growth variables and integrating external data sources to produce tangible outcomes for sustainable agriculture and maximum food production.
Powered by solar panels, Mineral’s prototype plant rovers have been actively gathering data by roaming fields containing a range of crops including strawberries, salad crops, oats and barley. GPS software maps individual plants as high quality images are captured and key metrics such as plant height, leaf area and fruit size identified.
When data from satellite imagery, meteorological readings and soil sensors are included, plant growth patterns emerge – which machine learning (ML) can help to interpret and make sense of.
Useful and actionable insights can emerge from such a platform, providing farmers with crop ripeness information, disease predictions and total yield forecasts to name but a few.
‘Software can help overcome the technology accessibility barriers that have historically held back farmers worldwide’ stated Elliott Grant, CEO of Mineral in a blog on the company’s website. ‘We have seen how patterns and correlations generated by our algorithms are helping our partners discover new knowledge and gain a deeper understanding’.