Barnstorm Agtech Inc., Senlac, Saskatchewan, received a CAD $350,000 grant from the Saskatchewan government’s Agtech Growth Fund (AGF) to research and development for autonomous driverless tractor swarms.
The grant will be administered by Innovation Saskatchewan AGF to research and test at broadacre farms in Saskatchewan and Alberta. During 2021, Barnstorm also raised $1 million in seed funding from individual investors and two angel syndicates: 99Tartans (Carnegie Mellon University alumni investors) and Reinforced Ventures (an angel syndicate focused on autonomy, robotics and deep science).
Barnstorm is developing a mid-sized, hybrid-electric autonomous, swarming farm tractor. The company aims to reduce environmental impact, increase yields, and mitigate downtime risks. According to the grant proposal, “swarms of autonomous compact tractors will provide more flexibility, greater precision, and lower labor inputs for modern farming operations.” This will directly address the chronic labor shortages on the Canadian Prairies.
Innovation Saskatchewan’s AGF operates as a research and development funding program designed specifically to accelerate the commercialization of technological innovations in the province’s agricultural sector.
Barnstorm was founded in 2020 by Parker Wells, a 4th generation farmer, and Mitchell London, a serial entrepreneur, roboticist, and investor. The company is developing a system of easily transported “swarms” of tractor-like driverless vehicles This autonomous system is intended to complete basic farm operations such as tillage, spraying, and spreading faster, at lower cost, and with no “single point of failure” risks.