Disrupting the Apple Cart: Abundant Robotics to Automate Orchard Harvests

Leading-Edge AgTech Company Leverages Technology from SRI International to Make Nutritious Food More Accessible

MENLO PARK, Calif. - August 10, 2016 -SRI International today announced the spin-out and launch of Abundant Robotics, an agriculture technology company focused on helping make nutritious foods such as apples and other tree fruits more accessible. Abundant will commercialize and build on several years of successful research initiatives in agricultural robotics at SRI.


"While orchard yields have significantly improved over the last two decades, labor productivity has not," said Dan Steere, CEO of Abundant Robotics. "Our goal is to deliver robotic systems to ease the hardest jobs in agriculture. The first automated apple harvesting system that doesnt bruise or damage the produce will be a huge breakthrough in an industry that has been dependent on the challenges of seasonal labor."
Abundant Robotics initial prototype is designed with technology from SRI to enable automation of apple harvesting. Future development may address other produce and steps in the production process.
"Bringing automation to orchard agriculture is an important step in addressing nutritional demands and making high-quality fruit available to a growing population," said Manish Kothari, Ph.D., president of SRI Ventures at SRI International. "SRI is proud to be a part of this major agtech breakthrough."

Abundant Robotics co-founders Curt Salisbury, Michael Eriksen, and Dan Steere share early backgrounds in agriculture. Recognizing the opportunity for farming innovation they joined together while at SRI to apply leading-edge robotics expertise to agricultural production. Salisbury was a leader in SRIs robotics group and Eriksen, a software architect, was a key collaborator. Steere initially served as an entrepreneur in residence at SRI Ventures, advising Abundant Robotics before leading the venture full-time.
Backed by research funding from the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and SRI, Abundant Robotics has closed its initial investment round.
About Abundant Robotics
Abundant Robotics mission is to deliver robotic solutions for the hardest jobs in agriculture. Based in California, we are global experts in our fields, love solving important problems, and are passionate about building great products. Growers worldwide are grappling with urgent problems, including rising standards for high-quality produce and scarcity of agricultural labor. Abundant is currently preparing its first solution, automating apple harvest.

About SRI International
SRI International creates world-changing solutions making people safer, healthier, and more productive. SRI, a research center headquartered in Menlo Park, California, works primarily in advanced technology and systems, biosciences, computing, and education. SRI brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, spin-off ventures and new product solutions.

Featured Product

TUV Rheinland Robot Integrator Program

TUV Rheinland Robot Integrator Program

The industry's first comprehensive Robot Integrator Program saves robot integrators significant time and cost investments by allowing them to mark each cell compliant with ANSI/RIA R15.06 with the TUV Rheinland Mark. As opposed to a traditional certification or an on-site field labeling, TÜV Rheinland's Robot Integrator Program certifies the knowledge and skill-set of robot integrators in addition to testing robotic cells and processes against ANSI/RIA R15.06. This reduces the need for frequent onsite or off site testing and allows manufacturers to apply a single TÜV Rheinland label to multiple cells. The Robot Integrator Program individually assesses a robot integrator's understanding of the ANSI/RIA R15.06 standard along with the ability to consistently produce compliant robot cells. Following the requirements and procedures of the new program will enable robot integrators to produce individually compliant robotic cells under one serialized TÜV Rheinland Mark, which meets the national electric code and allows acceptance by Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) and end users.