Robots for Table Grapes and Beyond

Robots for Table Grapes and Beyond

Tim Hammerich
Tim Hammerich
News Reporter
It’s time for the Farm of the Future Report. I’m Tim Hammerich.

Yesterday we featured Future Acres, a fully autonomous wheelbarrow to help table grape workers transport freshly picked grapes in the vineyard. CEO Suma Reddy said table grapes are a great first market for this type of solution.

Reddy… “It's a really great market for transportation. So what we are doing is transporting, you know, those crops across a field. And so you need that solution moreso for specialty crops, which has three times the higher labor costs than you have for row crops.”

But to earn a good return on investment for backers, Future Acres will have to expand either the services or the target market for this robot, who they have named Carry.

Reddy… “Our first option is really to sit there and say, Can we be a bit more of a year round solution for table grapes? Post harvest, looking at the leftover wood on the vine. Pre-harvest looking at the color of the grapes using computer vision technologies.”

Reddy said that table grape buyers and other interested parties might also be a market for the data these units can generate. And they can always look to other specialty crops.

Reddy… “This isn't a problem that only exists for table grapes. It exists for the berries, whether it's the blueberries, the raspberries or the strawberries, your stone fruits, your apples, various types of industries. So, yes, the hardware would have to be switched up, but once you develop that software that is much more replicable across spaces.”

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