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New investment to accelerate robotic harvesting

Fieldwork Robotics has secured € 780,000 in additional capital to accelerate the development of robot technology for harvesting soft fruit and vegetables.

The new investment of £ 675,000 (€ 780,000) comes from existing and new investors says Frontier IP Group, a specialist in commercialising intellectual property.

Frontier IP Group initially held more than 25% of Fieldwork Robotics shares but the new funding round means its equity stake is now 22.2%.

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The company chose raspberries as their first target because raspberries are the most delicate of soft fruits with the added complication that they grow within complex foliage. - Photo: Fieldwork Robotics/University of Plymouth
The company chose raspberries as their first target because raspberries are the most delicate of soft fruits with the added complication that they grow within complex foliage. - Photo: Fieldwork Robotics/University of Plymouth

Marketing raspberry robot

Fieldwork plans to use the investment to bring its raspberry harvesting robot to the market. Earlier on, the company chose raspberries as the first target for its robotic fruit and vegetable picking project because raspberries are the most delicate of soft fruits with the added complication that they grow within complex foliage.

Initial field trials of a raspberry harvesting robot were completed in 2019 and depending on COVID-19 restrictions, a first prototype is expected to go into field trials in July this year. Preparations to start manufacturing the robot will start right after that.

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Fieldwork Robotics is working together with Bosch to optimise the harvester’s soft robotic arms and to develop software aimed at reducing the arms’ cost and increasing their speed. - Photo: Fieldwork Robotics/University of Plymouth
Fieldwork Robotics is working together with Bosch to optimise the harvester’s soft robotic arms and to develop software aimed at reducing the arms’ cost and increasing their speed. - Photo: Fieldwork Robotics/University of Plymouth

Modular design

The company says the modular design of its technology means it can be adapted for harvesting different soft fruit and vegetables. Following the collaboration with vegetable producer Bonduelle Group started in September 2020, Fieldwork Robotics will also use the latest investment to work on the development of a cauliflower-harvesting robot. For this, Bonduelle will provide access to fields and expertise in vegetables and knowledge of different growing and harvesting conditions.

Best Field Robot Concept Award 2020

British Fieldwork Robotics is a company that spun-off from the University of Plymouth (UK) in 2016 dedicated to the development of agricultural robot technology for harvesting soft fruit and vegetables. The start-up was nominated last year for the Best Field Robot Concept Award 2020 by Future Farming and FIRA and won the public voting.

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