AeroFarms and Nokia Bell Labs have unveiled a multi-year partnership. The goal is to combine their expertise and expand their joint capabilities in cutting-edge networking, autonomous systems, and integrated machine vision and machine learning technologies to identify and track plant interactions at the most advanced levels.
As part of this partnership, AeroFarms, a global leader in indoor vertical farming, contributes 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, contributes 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.
AeroFarms and Nokia Bell Labs have been working together since 2020. They have reached a milestone of achieving a proof of concept for this state-of-the-art integrated system and testing the technologies with AeroFarms’ current commercial crop varieties. Together, they plan to scale this system to all of AeroFarms’ crops and future indoor vertical farms, including the next ones in Danville, VA, and Abu Dhabi.
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 enhances and elevates AeroFarms’ position as an agriculture platform and capabilities organization dedicated to solving food and agriculture supply chain challenges.
“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,” says David Rosenberg, CEO at AeroFarms. “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.”
Nokia Bell Labs’ machine vision technology has enabled the most precise data capture yet, down to the level of individual plants, using leaf size segmentation, quantification, and pixel-based scanning to identify consistency and variation.
Going beyond what even the human eye can perceive, this state-of-the-art imaging technology enables the gathering of immense insights about a plant, including its leaf size, stem length, colouration, curvature, spotting, and tearing.
The end-to-end system is flexible and robust, built to take advantage of Nokia’s 5G private wireless network with cloud processing technology. The network is 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.
“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,” says 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.”