In New Zealand, Robotics Plus Ltd, an agricultural robotics company, secured investment from Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. RPL is an early stage R&D company developing robotics and automation solutions for highly variable agricultural environments, including post-harvest robotics for fruit packing, orchard robotics for harvesting and pollination, and autonomous agricultural vehicles.
RPL CEO Steve Saunders says the new partnership brings together Yamaha’s deep knowledge of agricultural vehicles and their world leading manufacturing robotics technologies with RPL’s expertise in agricultural technology, machine vision and artificial intelligence.
RPL CTO Dr. Alistair Scarfe said, “The available labor for orchard and packhouse work is steadily reducing while new plantings will require significant increases in available labor. We are developing autonomous solutions for the most menial, repetitive tasks, while creating higher skilled jobs for industry staff. Yamaha shares our vision for a future where robotics will enable farmers to meet growing consumer demand for fresh produce.”