Root AI Raises $2.3 Million to Focus on Automating Indoor Farms

Published by , August 13, 2018 1:12 pm

(TechCrunch)  The factory automation revolution is making its way to the agricultural industry in the U.S. and its first stop will likely be the indoor farms that are now dotting the U.S. Root AI, a young startup which has just raised $2.3 million to bring its first line of robotic harvesting and farm optimization technologies to market. Root AI has designed a mobile robot that operates in indoor farming facilities. It picks tomatoes and is able to look at crops and assess their health, and conduct simple operations like pruning vines and observing and controlling ripening profiles so that the robot can cultivate crops (initially tomatoes) continuously and more effectively than people.
Root AI is focused on the 2.3 million square feet of indoor farms that currently exist in the world. While that only amounts to roughly 505 acres of land — a fraction of the 900 million acres of farmland that’s currently cultivated in the U.S. — those indoor farms offer huge yield advantages over traditional farms with a much lower footprint in terms of resources used. The average yield per acre in indoor farms for vine crops like tomatoes, and leafy greens, is over ten times higher than outdoor farms.

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