Case Studies
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AI Pollination Startup

AI Startup Arruga have created a robot to replicate bumblebee pollination

Arugga, which means flower bed in Hebrew, is an AI farming startup who have successfully created an autonomous ground robot which can replicate bumblebee pollinate for tomato plants in greenhouses.   

Arruga founder and CEO Iddo Gentler came up with the idea of robotic pollination while driving along in his car thinking about pollination issues.  Honey bees dying out through colony collapse disorder, the high cost of commercially produced bumblebee hives, the transmission of viruses by bees and the sensitivity of bees to environmental conditions and pesticides are all common problems.  Australia has the additional issue that all commercial bee colonies are banned so tomato plants have to be pollinated by hand. 

“All the growers we talk to face huge labour issues and challenges and we definitely hope we can be  part of the solution, helping to solve these problems through the use of robots powered by AI”

The pollination robots work by moving down a row of tomato plants and detecting flowers which are ready for pollination.  They apply a calibrated air pulse to vibrate the flowers replicating buzz pollination. The robots are able to identify and pollinate close to 100% of the flowers giving yields up to 5% higher than bees.

Arruga’s pollination robots are now deployed in Australia, the USA and plans are in place for Canada.  They are also working on a robotic solution to lower plants and prune them.

Arugga has raised $6.3 million to date and is in the process of further fundraising.

February 4, 2022

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