Aug 10, 2016Abundant Robotics to automate orchard harvests
SRI International has launched Abundant Robotics, an agriculture technology company focused on helping make foods such as apples and other tree fruits more accessible. Abundant Robotics will commercialize and build on research initiatives in agricultural robotics at SRI.
“While orchard yields have significantly improved over the last two decades, labor productivity has not,” said Dan Steere, CEO of Abundant Robotics. “Our goal is to deliver robotic systems to ease the hardest jobs in agriculture. The first automated apple harvesting system that doesn’t bruise or damage the produce will be a huge breakthrough in an industry that has been dependent on the challenges of seasonal labor.”
Abundant Robotics’ initial prototype is designed with technology from SRI to enable automation of apple harvesting. Future development may address other produce and steps in the production process.
Abundant Robotics co-founders Curt Salisbury, Michael Eriksen and Dan Steere share early backgrounds in agriculture. They joined together while at SRI to apply robotics expertise to agricultural production. Salisbury was a leader in SRI’s robotics group and Eriksen, a software architect, was a key collaborator. Steere initially served as an entrepreneur in residence at SRI Ventures, advising Abundant Robotics before leading the venture full-time.