Automation and AI more widespread in vegetable production in Japan

Vegetables grown in factories with the help of information technology to control temperature, light and other conditions have taken root in Japan. Some 390 vegetable facilities were operating nationwide in February, compared to 93 facilities in 2011. Reasons behind the surge include significant technological advancements in automation, which are now able to handle veggies from their seedling to harvesting states.

At the Kinokuniya International Supermarket Aoyama store -near Omotesando Station in Minato Ward, Tokyo- parsley and herbs are grown inside the store under LEDs in a two-metre-wide by two-metre-high glass case. The plants, grown hydroponically, do not require chemical pesticides. Seedlings are planted and vegetables are harvested twice a week, which are then sold on the spot.

The commercial production of factory-grown vegetables kicked off in the 1980s and is primarily divided into two types: those that use artificial light, and those that use the power of the sun. Recent developments include computers that precisely control humidity, carbon dioxide levels, nutrition and other factors.


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