Advanced Farm Technologies (AFT), a Davis, Calif.-based startup founded in 2017, has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding for its strawberry picking robot. Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVSV), the business development and investment arm of Yamaha Motor, led the round. Catapult Ventures, Impact Venture Capital, and Kubota Corporation also participated in the round.
AFT earlier in 2019 commercialized its T-6 strawberry picking robot that is currently being used in California, which is the largest strawberry producing state in the US. AFT said it will use the funding to expand its strawberry picking robot technology and develop other types of robotic farming equipment.
Agriculture, of course, is a growing area for robotics. Farming is hard work, the conditions can be grueling, the work is repeatable, and there’s a shortage of labor. AFT wrote about this topic to announce its funding.
“We are excited and humbled to have Yamaha, a leader of global innovation and technology, support our mission of building a diversified farm equipment company centered around automation,” said Marc Grossman, CEO of Advanced Farm Technologies. “With this investment, we can expand our lead in robotic strawberry harvesting and continue to innovate in other areas.”
“We see tremendous potential in Advanced Farm Technologies’ robotic harvesting solution as a means of helping to meet the growing global market demand for fresh fruits and vegetables. We look forward to working closely with the team to support the expansion of their enterprise,” said Nolan Paul, Partner and Global AgTech Lead for YMVSV.
According to Crunchbase, AFT has raised a total of $9.2 million since it was founded. It raised a $1.7 million Seed Round in November 2018, according to Crunchbase. Other companies working on robotic strawberry harvesters include Agrobot, CROO Robotics, and Traptic.
According to Tractica Research, the number of agricultural robots shipping will reach 727,000 units per year by 2025. Besides robots that pick fruits, robots are also milking cows, planting and monitoring crops, and managing harvests.
To stay updated on the latest agriculture robotics news, check out The Robot Report‘s Agriculture Robotics Section.