AutoPickr, an advanced robotics company specializing in agricultural technology, has raised £710,000 in early-stage funding for the development of its groundbreaking farm robot. The investment will be used to further develop Gus, an automated asparagus picker, which was invented by father and daughter co-founders Robyn Sands (CEO) and Dr. David Sands (Senior Scientific Advisor), along with COO Kyle James-Keen.
Gus represents a significant breakthrough in the field of robotics and automation in agriculture. The technology behind AutoPickr’s robot combines reliable robotic arms, advanced computer vision AI, a state-of-the-art navigation system, and a robust vehicle. This versatile robotics platform has the potential for multiple agricultural applications, making it a valuable asset to farmers and growers.
The idea for Gus came about as a response to the ongoing labor crisis in agriculture. Robyn Sands, a passionate allotment owner and gardener, recognized the need for automation in the agricultural industry. She collaborated with her father to design and develop a robot specifically tailored for picking asparagus. Asparagus was chosen as the pilot crop due to its simplicity in terms of the computer vision system required for identifying the spears.
AutoPickr’s robot, Gus, is a fully autonomous system weighing 50kg. It navigates the field using ultra white beacons (UWBS) to map its surroundings. Equipped with its own navigation system and a battery life of 8-10 hours, Gus can accurately identify and pick supermarket standard spears, placing them in trays for collection. This automation solution not only reduces labor costs but also addresses the challenges posed by changing political circumstances and declining interest in physically demanding agricultural jobs.
The recent investment will enable AutoPickr to build three robots for extensive testing in the coming year, with plans for a full launch in 2025. The company’s focus on delivering a low-cost solution sets it apart in the industry. With an estimated cost of around £50k and a three-season payback period, the robot proves to be a cost-effective alternative for growers, as it minimizes the reliance on manual labor and guarantees consistent productivity.
Overall, AutoPickr’s innovative approach to agricultural robotics demonstrates the potential for technology to revolutionize labor-intensive industries, providing viable solutions to long-standing challenges. The development of Gus, the asparagus picker, marks an important milestone in the automation of farming processes.
What is the purpose of AutoPickr’s funding?
The funding secured by AutoPickr will be used for the further development of their farm robot, Gus, specifically designed as an automated asparagus picker.
Why was asparagus chosen as the pilot crop?
Asparagus was selected as the pilot crop for its relatively simpler computer vision system, which was necessary to identify the spears accurately.
How does Gus navigate the field?
Gus utilizes ultra white beacons (UWBS) to map the field and relies on its own navigation system to move autonomously.
What are the benefits of AutoPickr’s robot for growers?
AutoPickr’s robot, Gus, reduces labor costs, provides consistent productivity, and eliminates challenges associated with physical labor and changing labor markets.
When will AutoPickr’s robot be available for commercial use?
AutoPickr aims to launch the robot commercially in 2025 after extensive testing with three robots scheduled for production in the coming year.
What is the estimated cost of AutoPickr’s robot?
The estimated cost of AutoPickr’s robot is £50k, with a three-season payback period, making it a cost-effective solution for growers in the long run.