Consistently Grow More with Less:
Robotic solutions for row crop agriculture
Consistently Grow More with Less:
Robotic solutions for row crop agriculture
Kent Cavender-Bares, CEO
Kent's vision for creating the future of robotic farming starts with the needs of both the plant and the farmer. His driving motivation is to make it easy for farmers to use all of their inputs more efficiently. As CEO, he defines Rowbot's solutions, works with investors, manages operations and charts out IP strategy. He holds a B.S. in agricultural and biological engineering from Cornell, a M.S. in environmental engineering from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering from MIT. Prior leadership roles in environmental non-profits. Kent grew up operating and repairing farm equipment. [email, LinkedIn]
John Bares, Executive Chairman
Internationally-renowned robotics leader. Past director of NREC at Carnegie Mellon University. John was the founding director of Uber’s Advanced Tech Center (UATC) in Pittsburgh, building the team that logged 1 million self-driving miles. John founded Carnegie Robotics and led it during development of Rowbot’s foundational technology. John also serves as CEO at Carnegie Robotics and holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie Mellon. [LinkedIn]
David LaRose, Chief Robotics Scientist
David has over 25 years experience in robotics and computer vision. Previously, he's been involved in commercializing technologies in the biomedical, environmental, military, energy, and agricultural markets. David was involved in the development of ROWBOT’s autonomy technology while it was a project at CRL. David had a key role with Uber’s self-driving car effort. He serves also as Chief Scientist at Carnegie Robotics. David holds a B.S from Brown, and M.S., Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie Mellon University. [LinkedIn]
Matt Alvarado, Principal Software Engineer
Matt’s focus is on perception systems and field planning. He comes to Rowbot from Uber’s self-driving car unit, where he worked on the perception and motion planning teams. Prior to Uber, Matt was with Carnegie Robotics, where among other projects, he developed the V1 Rowbot prototype’s navigation system. Matt holds a B.S. from Olin College and a M.S. from CMU. [LinkedIn]
Chris Niessl, Senior Software Engineer
Broadly experienced robotic software developer who comes to Rowbot from Carnegie Robotics (CRL). Most recently, Chris was Lead Software Engineer for CRL’s Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection (SREHD) System. This highly reliable robotic system has a software codebase of over one million lines and has been extensively audited and tested by the US Army. While at CRL, Chris was involved in extending Rowbot’s data collection capabilities in the area of rapid phenotyping. Chris holds a B.S. from CMU. [LinkedIn]
Matt Camacho-Cook, Lead Mechanical Engineer
Matt is currently Lead Mechanical Engineer at Carnegie Robotics (CRL), where he has designed several wheeled and tracked robotic systems, including the V1 Rowbot prototype. As part of his role as the Lead Mechanical Engineer on CRL’s Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection (SREHD) project, Matt not only designed a custom five degree of freedom manipulator but guided the design through the early production maturation process. Prior to CRL, Matt worked for CMU’s NREC on the APD program, a highly advanced hybrid electric technology demonstrator for the US Army TARDEC. He will be full time at Rowbot by Q3 2018. Matt holds a B.S. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. [LinkedIn]
Chani Martin, Mechanical Engineer
Chani is a mechanical designer who can rapidly iterate through early prototype designs while still ensuring their robustness. She comes to Rowbot from Carnegie Robotics, where she worked on new sensor development as well as a high-mobility tracked platform for MTRS II (Man Transportable Robotic System). Prior to Carnegie Robotics she was a mechanical engineer at SpaceX. Chani holds a B.S. from Olin College. [LinkedIn]
Nick Bland, Systems & Test Engineer
Nick is deeply involved in the development of Rowbot’s positioning and navigation systems. Nick comes to Rowbot from Carnegie Robotics (CRL), where he was the Lead Test Engineer and Deputy Project Lead for CRL’s Joint Development Agreement with Swift Navigation on the low cost INS system for automotive and agriculture using the Swift RTK GPS system. Nick’s extensive experience as a talented field operator will help guide Rowbot’s user interface development. While at CRL, Nick has been involved in development of the V1 Rowbot prototype. Nick holds two associate’s degrees from Butler County Community College. [LinkedIn]
Nolan Stephenson, Lead Engineering Technician
Nolan is a highly skilled, interdisciplinary robotics engineering technician who comes to Rowbot from Carnegie Robotics, where among other projects, he was involved in all aspects of the V1 Rowbot prototype, from assembly, testing, and field deployments. Nolan has been involved in the build phase and deployments of Carnegie Robotic’s Standoff Robotic Explosive Hazard Detection (SREHD) prototypes, and several infrastructure inspection and construction robots. Nolan's experience taking systems from workbench to the field will be leaned on heavily to produce a reliable and maintenance-friendly system suitable for extensive agricultural work. [LinkedIn]
Rowbot was founded in 2012 by three entrepreneurial brothers. Charlie Bares is a large-scale dairyman and corn grower from NY State. Kent Cavender-Bares is an environmental scientist, who trained as an agricultural engineer and is based in Minnesota. John Bares is a co-founder of Carnegie Robotics, a robotics team that has deep experience designing and manufacturing high-quality products for agriculture and other markets.
There's a whole lot of corn in the world—over 400 million acres—and it all grows tall fast. As it's growing, farmers are challenged to supply key nutrients efficiently—especially nitrogen. Why? The corn gets tall so fast that it's hard to match fertilizer applications to the needs of the plants.
Timing is important because nitrogen is easily lost during periods of heavy rain. Applying nitrogen near the time it will be used by a rapidly growing crop makes the most sense.
The problem facing many growers is that a rapidly growing crop, mixed with uncertain field conditions, leads to situations where in-season applications of nitrogen (often called "side-dressing") cannot be carried out as planned. Constraints and worries linked to crop height keep many growers from using in-season nitrogen management, a widely recognized best practice.
Enthusiasm for using cover crops in combination with growing corn is growing steadily by the day. These crops are used to keep the soil covered through the fall, winter, and early spring. They contribute to building soil health, keeping excess nitrogen on the field until the following growing season, and fighting compaction. Recent USDA survey data are pointing to higher yields for cash crops that follow a cover crop planting.
The problem facing growers who want to use cover crops with corn is that there is typically a very short growing window after the late fall corn harvest. Progressive growers are trying out a variety of methods to get cover crops seeded in late August and September, after the corn is mature but before it is harvested. Seeding then can extend the growing window for cover crops by a month or more. However, there aren't reliable, cost-effective methods today to seed cover crops into standing corn that can approach 10 feet tall.
Rowbot is redefining what’s possible for farmers by using robotics. Our first machine is a small, self-driving, multi-use platform that travels between rows of corn, removing height constraints imposed by a rapidly growing crop.
Our Rowbots work in teams to apply nitrogen fertilizer in sync with corn needs, inter-seed cover-crops into tall corn, and collect data to inform both current and future work.
We have completed early test marketing our in-season nitrogen (sidedressing) and cover crop seeding services. Please contact us if you are an ag retailer, agronomist, or corn grower with interest in where Rowbot services will be available in the future.