Arugga AI Farming, the Israel-based start-up company that has introduced pollination robots to the tomato greenhouse market, has successfully trialled a robotic manipulator which will replace the labour-intensive, manual task of lowering tomato plants.
Arugga AI Farming robotic plant-lowering arm – accelerated video for purpose of demonstration.
Addressing labour shortage issues
Iddo Geltner, the company’s CEO, stated that “from the start, we have seen our mission as helping greenhouse growers address labour shortage issues, improve efficiency and increase yields. Robotic pollination is a first step in that direction, with the promise of added yield versus bees and manual pollination. We have started commercial deployment of our pollination robots in Australia and the United States and plan to expand into Canada in the coming months”.
Over the past few months, the company has been working on developing a robotic solution to perform costly labour tasks such as plant lowering and pruning. The company has now successfully trialled its robotic plant-lowering system in a commercial greenhouse in Israel.
First commercial launch by the end of 2022
Geltner says that “the company plans to launch its first commercial plant-lowering robotic solution at the end of 2022. The robotic system will be added to our existing platform for robotic pollination. The goal is to increase number of tasks performed by our robots, at different times of the day”.
The Israel-based company, backed by venture capital investments, has raised $6.3 million and is in the process of raising additional funds.
Geltner adds: “All the growers we talk to face huge labour issues and challenges and we definitely hope we can be part of the solution, helping to solve these problems through the use of robots powered by AI”.