San Francisco startup FarmWise may be next door to Silicon Valley, but it looked far beyond the heart of the tech world for potential manufacturing partners to develop prototypes of its autonomous farm robots.
It found one just outside Detroit.
FarmWise talked with Michigan Economic Development Corp.'s PlanetM mobility initiative, which introduced the California company to Roush, an automotive development, engineering and testing services company in Livonia, Mich.
In March the companies announced a deal to begin developing and testing FarmWise's autonomous vegetable-weeder prototypes in the Detroit suburb. The companies' initial contract includes developing a dozen prototypes this year, with more to come in 2020.
FarmWise, founded in 2016, says one robot is capable of weeding enough crops to feed a city of 400,000 residents.
Thomas Palomares, chief technology officer of FarmWise, said in a statement that "as a technology startup, joining forces with a large and well-respected legacy automaker is critical to support the scale of our manufacturing plan."
In September, FarmWise announced it had raised $14.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Calibrate Ventures.