Kubota has enlisted Tesla co-founder and engineer Ian Wright to develop field robots controlled by artificial intelligence. The partnership will initially focus on machines that grow wine grapes.
According to Nikkei Asia, by partnering with Ian Wright Kubota hopes it will be able to attract personnel versed in AI and automated control technologies to a new U.S. research unit. About 50 to 60 engineers, including those from Kubota, will work at the unit’s facilities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Kubota has earmarked tens of millions of dollars for the project over the next few years.
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The grape-growing robots are to move around the vineyards on their own. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be used to analyse camera images to select branches for trimming and check how the grapes are faring. Kubota anticipates demand from U.S. West Coast farms using conventional farming equipment. Eventually, the company plans to have the robots handle harvesting as well.