(Bloomberg) -- A former McDonald’s Corp. chief executive officer is investing in autonomous robotics for agriculture.

Agriculture technology startup Verdant Robotics has raised $46.5 million in Series A funding to help build farm robots. The round was lead by Cleveland Avenue LLC, a venture capital firm founded by former McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson.

Farmers are leaning on technology to help produce enough food to feed a growing population while also contending with a shortage of fieldworkers and facing calls to reduce their environmental impact. So-called “precision agriculture,” uses data and technology to allow a farmer to control the exact amount of each input like fertilizer and pesticides that is applied onto fields. 

“By using vastly fewer inputs to actually grow more, you end up also helping the environment,” Gabe Sibley, CEO of Hayward, California-based Verdant Robotics, said in an interview.

The robot can simultaneously weed, fertilize and treat plants for pests and diseases while collecting data on each plant that is sent back to farmers in real time. 

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