AeroFarms Announces Partnership with Nokia to Expand Next Generation AI-Enabled Plant Vision Technology; David Rosenberg, Roger Buelow, and Thierry Klein Discuss
NEWARK, NJ - After AndNowUKnow recently sat down with David Rosenberg, CEO of Aerofarms, to discuss the research, investments, and innovation fueling the company’s growth in the vertical farming sector, the grower has announced a new partnership to add fuel to its expansion fire. AeroFarms has revealed a ground-breaking multi-year alliance with Nokia Bell Labs to integrate cutting-edge systems and technologies into its operations.
“With Nokia Bell Labs, we have developed the next-generation system that can image every plant every day in a cost-effective way at scale. This level of detailed imaging and insights helps us be better farmers by monitoring our plant biology dynamically and allowing us to course correct as needed to ensure the highest level of quality all year round,” said Rosenberg. “When I watch the drones autonomously imaging our plants, I am blown away by how this truly represents the power of harnessing leading-edge technologies and bringing brilliant problem solvers together from diverse groups to grow the best plants possible.”
In combining the expertise of the two innovative companies, the pair aims to expand their joint capabilities in networking, autonomous systems, and integrated machine vision and machine learning technologies in order to track plant interactions at more advanced levels, according to a press release.
As part of the alliance, AeroFarms will contribute its commercial growing expertise, comprehensive environmental controls, an agriculture-focused data platform, and machine vision core foundation. Nokia Bell Labs, the industrial research arm of Nokia, will bring to the table its autonomous drone control and orchestration systems, private wireless networks, robust image and sensor data pipelines, and innovative artificial intelligence (AI) enabled mobile sensor technologies.
“Nokia Bell Labs is driven to solve hard and impactful problems, and together with AeroFarms, we are building the ability to see and identify plant interactions at unprecedented levels,” commented Thierry Klein, Vice President of Integrated Solutions and Experiences Research Lab at Nokia. “The fundamental technologies of this partnership are our strength, and vertical farming is just the beginning. With the AeroFarms platform, we are exploring the power of network-driven intelligence for industrial outcomes. These capabilities can expand into a multitude of indoor industrial operations, including logistics, warehousing, distribution hubs, and manufacturing.”
Through the combination of these state-of-the-art technologies, AeroFarms will be able to reach the next level of imaging insights to further enhance its capabilities as a vertical farmer and year-round grower.
The duo has been working together since 2020 and has reached an important milestone by achieving a proof of concept for its cutting-edge integrated system and testing the technologies with AeroFarms’ current commercial crop varieties. Now, they are ready to scale the system to all of the growers’ crops and future indoor vertical farms, including upcoming ones in Danville, Virginia, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Through the integration of Nokia Bell Labs’ AI-enabled drone-based sensors and advanced machine learning, computer vision, and data analytics technologies with AeroFarms’ existing machine vision tools, the grower will enhance its position as an agriculture platform and capabilities dedicated to solving food and agriculture supply chain challenges.
“AeroFarms’ expert team of plant scientists and engineers have been working together for two years with Nokia Bell Labs’ top researchers and engineers to train these complex learning systems with a nuanced understanding of plant biology,” added Roger Buelow, Chief Technology Officer at AeroFarms. “We have created a cross-disciplinary understanding at an industrial scale to develop the latest imaging technology to help accelerate our ability to introduce new crops and ensure the highest quality for our commercial operations."
So far, Nokia Bell Labs’ machine vision technology has enabled precise data capture, down to the level of individual plants, using leaf size segmentation, quantification, and pixel-based scanning to identify consistency and variation. This innovative imaging technology enables the gathering of immense insights about plants, including leaf size, stem length, coloration, curvature, spotting, and tearing.
The end-to-end system is flexible and strong, built to take advantage of Nokia’s 5G private wireless network with cloud processing technology, designed for low latency and high privacy in an on-premises network. It also provides intelligent industrial analytics capabilities as an integrated service that can be deployed quickly and efficiently anywhere.
As this partnership continues to evolve into more cutting-edge insights and advancements, AndNowUKnow will be here to report.