CNH, a global leader in agricultural machinery, has made a minority investment in Advanced Farm Technologies, a California-based start-up specializing in robotic harvesting. This partnership aims to accelerate the development and adoption of smart harvesting technologies in the agricultural industry.
The use of robots in fruit harvesting has the potential to significantly improve productivity for farmers. Handpicking labor accounts for 46% of the production cost of apples in the United States, and a staggering 70% for strawberries. These high labor costs are further compounded by a declining availability of handpicking workforce. By implementing robotic picking solutions, farmers can harvest their high-value crops up to five times more efficiently.
Advanced Farm Technologies has developed an innovative system that utilizes computer vision and machine learning to identify and pick the best fruits. This system operates day and night, ensuring a continuous harvesting process. The robotic arms of the system are equipped with gentle grippers to handle the fruits carefully, minimizing the risk of bruising and damage. The platform also features autonomous navigation and automated bin handling, eliminating the need for manual labor and reducing the strain of repetitive tasks.
CNH’s investment in Advanced Farm Technologies is part of its commitment to customer-inspired innovation and bringing cutting-edge solutions to its portfolio. The company is particularly focused on automated, autonomous, and sustainable farming innovations that address complex challenges faced by its customers.
The collaboration between CNH and Advanced Farm Technologies signifies an important step forward in the advancement of robotic harvesting technologies. By combining their expertise and resources, the two companies aim to drive industry and ecosystem innovation. This partnership will involve collaboration in research and development as well as commercialization efforts.
As the agricultural industry continues to face labor shortages and increasing production costs, the adoption of robotic harvesting solutions offers a promising solution. CNH’s investment in Advanced Farm Technologies demonstrates its dedication to supporting the development of technology that can revolutionize the way fruits and other crops are harvested.