Agricultural Robots A Growing Trend
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of robotics and automation technologies in agriculture. Robotics company Root AI recently raised $7.2 million in seed funding bringing the company’s total funding up to $9.5 million. The company's main product is a produce picking robot named Virgo which is capable of harvesting soft fruits like tomatoes and berries which typically need to be harvested by hand to avoid damaging them. So far Root AI has conducted tests of Virgo in California, Maine, New York, Ohio, Canada, and the Netherlands. The company intends to see Virgo deployed across North America within the next 12 months and in Europe after that.
Root AI is part of a new wave of agricultural robots. Naio Technologies has almost 150 robots in circulation around the world including Oz designed for market gardeners, Dino for weeding mound grown vegetables and Ted for weeding vineyards. Saga Robotics’ Thorvald model is an autonomous robot that can perform tasks such as UV treatment of crops for disease management, produce picking, cutting grass, spraying and data collection. Meanwhile, FarmWise's self-driving robots can identify weeds among crops and remove them without the need for herbicides.
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