FarmBeats: AI, Edge & IoT for Agriculture

FarmBeats: AI, Edge & IoT for Agriculture

Established: May 14, 2015


Microsoft Research blog

Microsoft Research blog

Microsoft Research blog


Several studies have demonstrated the need to significantly increase the world’s food production by 2050. However, there is limited amount of additional arable land, and water levels have also been receding. Although technology could help the farmer, its adoption is limited because the farms usually do not have power, or Internet connectivity, and the farmers are typically not technology savvy. We are working towards an end-to-end approach, from sensors to the cloud, to solve the problem.

Our goal is to enable data-driven farming. We believe that data, coupled with the farmer’s knowledge and intuition about his or her farm, can help increase farm productivity, and also help reduce costs. However, getting data from the farm is extremely difficult since there is often no power in the field, or Internet in the farms. As part of the FarmBeats project, we are building several unique solutions to solve these problems using low-cost sensors, drones, and vision and machine learning algorithms.

We are transitioning the FarmBeats technologies to a product—Azure FarmBeats—and are excited to announce the Public Preview of the first release. Please visit the Azure Marketplace to try FarmBeats.

Read the 2016 Economist article on FarmBeats here: TV Dinners

Read Bill Gates’s article and video on FarmBeats here: Can the Wi-Fi chip on your phone help feed the world?



We are building an end-to-end system that combines sensors and drones. Some of our research contributions include:

  • Techniques to merge drone imagery with ground sensor data
  • TV White Spaces based long range sensor networks in the farms
  • Automation of drone flights in the farms
  • Improving drone battery life
  • An IoT gateway device for Agriculture
  • Cloud support and ML services that are useful for Agriculture


Interns and collaborators

Current Team:

In the US & India

  • Heping Shi: 2017 onwards
  • Tusher Chakraborty (BUET): 2017 onwards
  • Prasad Pillai
  • Parag Pandit
  • Jerry Neal
  • Michael Toelle



    • JongHo Won (Purdue): summer 2015
    • Xinxin Jin (UCSD): summer 2015
    • Madhusudan Sudarshan (Microsoft): 2015 to 2016
    • Akshit Kumar (IIT Madras): 2016
    • Akash Devgun (UC Boulder): 2017
    • Jing Dong (Georgia Tech): 2017
    • Michael Grant (WSU): 2017
    • Sailaja Malladi (Microsoft): 2015 to 2017
    • Rohit Patil (PES University, Bangalore): 2016, 2017
    • Cameron Philips: 2017
    • Rahul Sharma (Microsoft): 2016 onwards
    • Aditya Jain (IIIT Delhi): 2017
    • Binh Vu: 2017
    • Sailaja Malladi: 2016, 2017
    • Vasuki Narasimha Swamy (UC Berkeley): 2016 onwards
    • Deepak Vasisht (MIT): 2015 onwards
    • Zerina Kapetanovic (University of Washington): 2015 onwards
    • Jian Ding: 2017
    • Suraj Jog: 2018 (UIUC)
    • Colleen Josephson: 2018 (Stanford)
    • Jing Dong: 2017 (Georgia Tech)
    • Mingmin Zhao: 2019 (MIT)
    • Sagar Jha: 2019 (Cornell)
    • Youjie Li: 2019 (UIUC)
    • Ali Kiaghadi: 2019 (UMass)

Bill Gates visits FarmBeats in Carnation WA

Ag Interns 2015 Ag interns 2015, from left to right: Xinxin, Zerina, and Deepak. Missing from picture: JongHo Won

farmbeats-usFarmBeats Hackathon Team (US)

farmbeats-indiaFarmBeats Hackathon Team (India)