Harvest Automation, Inc. is a robotics startup founded by several former iRobot employees. Their first robot is targeted at the floriculture industry and is designed to move potted plants on nursery container farms, an application currently done by hand. The plants are first planted in containers (pots) that are then evenly spaced on large fields. As the plants grow they are spaced further apart to give each plant more room to spread out. Later, as the plants are sold, leaving holes in the spaced pattern, they are consolidated into a tighter area.
The mobile robots that do this task are completely autonomous and able to figure out where the plants are and where they should be moved to. They carry one plant at a time, less than the 2 or 4 that humans carry, but the robots don't need to take breaks. The robots are also designed to be safe around humans, which allows a human laborer to be on the field with the robots to help them do their job.
In January 2010, the company received 4 million USD Series A financing, in November 2011 the company received 7.8 million USD Series B financing., and in October 2013 the company received 11.75 million USD Series C financing.
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