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Japanese origin KUBOTA Corporation and Yamaha Motor have additionally invested in the USA startup Advanced Farm Technologies (AFT) to develop automation solutions for ground crops and tree crops farming to contribute to labour saving and efficiency
AFT is the USA based startup aiming to raise efficiency in the agriculture field by developing and manufacturing robots for strawberry harvesting. The company’s TX robotic strawberry harvester combines an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) together with image sensors and artificial intelligence (AI). The image recognition technology instantly distinguishes ripe and ready strawberries and the grippers at the end of the robot arms gently pick each one. According to AFT, these automation technologies allow to significantly reduce conventional manned fruit & vegetable processes and maximise operational efficiency.
With this investment, Kubota and Yamaha Motor will jointly utilise the technologies of both companies to accelerate technological development and business expansion aimed at implementing automated farming solutions which is promoted by AFT for ground crops and tree crops.
Kubota established the "Innovation Center" in 2019, as a division to promote open innovation through partnerships with external organisations. Kubota said these activities allow the firm to deepen its knowledge of advanced agritech and its business models, thus accelerating the development of its solution business. The Yamaha Motor Group is also using its group company Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVSV) established in 2015 to gain a foothold in corporate venture capital activities through this investment.