Robot Farming Catching on: Strawberry Picking Robot Picks up $7.5M from Investors

Robotic strawberry picker at work


In a Series A funding, Advanced Farm Technology (AFT) raises $7.5M for strawberry picking robot. Computer vision and robotic arms allow for reduced bruising and enable farmers to plant more crops thus increasing output by 15-20%. 

AFT will use the funding to further develop their strawberry picking technology as well as develop other types of robotic farming equipment, according to The Robot Report. Million-dollar investments in companies like AFT point to the fact that agriculture is a growing area for robotics. The work is repetitive and wearing, and there is a shortage of labour, especially in the harvesting seasons. Some of these concerns can be combated with innovations like robotic strawberry picking.

Computer vision and night harvesting increases productivity and betters working conditions

The robotic strawberry picker uses robotic arms and computer vision to identify and pick ripe strawberries, and it allows for harvesting at night when strawberries are firmer and less prone to bruising. This frees workers from the fatiguing work of hand-picking strawberries and enables them to focus on sorting and packaging – tasks that can be done in the shade.

In addition, writes Medium, it eliminates the need for furrows between planting beds normally made to accommodate for trucks and carts. With robotic strawberry picking, considerations like these belong in the past, thus allowing farmers to increase crop density and therefore output by an estimated 15-20%.

Robotic harvesting solutions meet growing demand for fruits and vegetables

According to Tractica Research, the number of agricultural robots will reach 727,000 units per year by 2025. And robotic harvesting solutions, writes Nolan Paul, Partner and Global AgTech Lead of YMVSV (Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley), could be the means of meeting the growing global market demand for fresh fruits and vegetables.