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‘Mineral’ is the newest Alphabet company with a focus on sustainable agriculture

From 9to5google.com


In October of 2020, the X Moonshot Factory officially named its “computational agriculture” project, and Mineral has now graduated into a full-fledged Alphabet company. 

The mission is to simply “help scale sustainable agriculture” by “developing a platform and tools that help gather, organize, and understand never-before known or understood information about the plant world – and make it useful and actionable.” It started in 2018 by looking at how machine learning could be applied to crop production and is taking a collaborative approach by “partnering with companies across the food production system.”

Why agriculture? Why now? Agriculture is increasingly believed to be a major contributor to the climate crisis – but it is also a victim of a changing climate. There is no time to waste to find more climate-resilient crop varieties, to transition to less chemical- and fossil fuel-intensive practices, to improve soil health, and to restore biodiversity. 

Mineral is relying on generative artificial intelligence, machine learning, and edge compute power to achieve these goals with a focus on three areas:

  1. Developing sensing technology that can generate rich data sets about plants
  2. Organizing agriculture data from disparate sources for machine learning (ML) and building powerful software algorithms
  3. Conducting research that can meaningfully advance our fundamental understanding of plantkind.

The Alphabet company wants to get a “deeper understanding of the complex interactions of plant genes, the environment, and farm management practices.” In the past few years, it has found that “most companies are not collecting the quantity, diversity or quality of data needed to take full advantage of machine learning.”

To collect data, it developed a solar-powered “plant rover” that’s deployed in fields, but Mineral is expanding to placing sensors on other form factors, including existing robots, drones, and phones.


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‘Mineral’ is the newest Alphabet company with a focus on sustainable agriculture

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