Facebook Vice President David Marcus is the face of the company's Libra digital currency, but the original driving force was a 26-year-old female corporate-development...Technologyread more
Amazon's new policy for account suspensions doesn't go far enough to protect sellers from potentially unfair and wrongful suspensions, merchants say.Technologyread more
There is no end in sight to the Boeing 737 Max grounding after two fatal crashes, prompting airlines to rethink their growth plans.Airlinesread more
After a year of flooding, Midwest farmers face a stifling heat wave that's spreading across the U.S.Weather & Natural Disastersread more
On Saturday, Disney's Marvel Studios announced its upcoming slate of superhero films during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con.Entertainmentread more
Moving lots of data to a public cloud over the internet can take months or years. CNBC got an inside look at how AWS transfers data to the cloud for its clients.Technologyread more
A quarter of the S&P 500 companies report earnings next week, and that could buffet the market as investors await the July Fed meeting.Market Insiderread more
Iran's Revolutionary Guard claims a British tanker it still holds, Stena Impero, failed to follow international maritime rules.World Newsread more
"It troubles me that the most important political office in the world is becoming the face of racism and exclusion," Kaeser said in a Twitter post.Politicsread more
Silver's rally could be losing its shine after the precious metal reached its year-to-date high, futures experts warn.Futures Nowread more
Some 40% of Americans would struggle to come up with even $400 to pay for an emergency expense. Just how are so many Americans so short on cash? Blame debt.Personal Financeread more
As farmers face new challenges, from higher tariffs to extreme weather, Ceres Imaging is helping them optimize their crop production with sensors, software and aircraft.
Ceres started out building drones specifically for agricultural use. But like Facebook, which recently shuttered its solar plane project, Ceres found another way to deliver its services.
Now, the Oakland, California-based start-up installs 10 pounds worth of sensors in low-flying aircraft, and sends them over farms on a regular basis. And it has $25 million in fresh venture funding to expand its service across the U.S. and international markets.
The company's sensors capture high-resolution aerial imagery at various wavelengths. The images are combined into a mosaic and algorithmically analyzed by Ceres's software, revealing plant health in detail. For example, scans can show farmers where and when pests or diseases are emerging on their land, the nitrogen levels in the leaves of their plants or where their crops are too dry or waterlogged.
Ashwin Madgavkar, the company's founder who previously worked as a sugar farmer in Colombia and Brazil, said American farmers need technology to help the deal with a labor shortage and to better optimize their yields.
"They do not have enough people to walk around inspecting the plants," he said. Additionally, "our data helps them learn things weeks before they would discover it with the naked eye."
The company's "eye in the sky" technology works on a range of crops, including wine grapes grown in the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma, pistachios and almonds in Australia, or soy, corn and potatoes grown across America's heartland.
Ceres's new funding came from Insight Venture Partners and Romulus Capital. It plans to use some of the funding to develop a miniaturized version of its sensors, appropriate for use with smaller drones.
Madgavkar expects his company's technology to become a standard tool for farmers who are trying to do more with less. Most arable land is already being used to raise crops, but the global population is still growing and with it comes demand for more food, he said.
"Agriculture is ready for data and software," said Harley Miller, who led Insight's investment. Ceres' approach is asset-light, he said, meaning that farmers don't have to buy heavy equipment or install and maintain hardware on the ground to get precise, regular reports on their crops.
While Ceres has focused on selling data to commercial farms, Miller said it's beginning to analyze entire regions. Investors expect the company to sell regional reports one day to commodity investors, funds that finance farms and government offices that need to understand the exact challenges growers are facing in a particular geography.