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Kubota invests in robot manufacturer Abundant Robotics


 
Kubota Corporation has invested in U.S. based start-up Abundant Robotics. This company offers robotics-based automation in the agriculture field.

Last June, Kubota launched its Innovation Center as a division for the pursuit of open innovation based on coordination with external partners. The company states it’s currently pursuing negotiations for collaboration with startups, beginning with Advanced Farm Technologies, Inc., in which Kubota invested last August.

Automated fruit harvesting
One area of farming that has caught Kubota’s attention is harvesting. Automated harvesting is in high demand among fruit growers, according to the company. This interest led to the decision to invest in Abundant Robotics, which is developing apple-harvesting robots by using advanced technologies.

Harvesting apples and other fruits
With this investment, Kubota says it aims to reinforce its development of labor-saving and automation technology for harvesting apples and other fruits and launch a solution business utilising these technologies, thus contributing to labor-saving and efficiency improvement in farming in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Kubota Corp. will release a rice planting machine with automated driving functions in October, reports Nippon.com. The automated rice planting machine will use mapping and GPS technology and will be remotely controlled. With the machine, Kubota says only one person is needed to plant rice, instead of two. 

Kubota Corp. said Wednesday it will release a rice-planting machine with automated driving functions in October.

The aim of the first such machine in the industry is to reduce the burden on farmers by reducing the need for manpower in the process of planting rice. It will sell for ¥6,875,000.

The rice planter first creates a map of the rice field using GPS while being driven by a human around the perimeter of the field. It will then calculate its rice-planting route based on the map and automatically plant rice seedlings, according to the major Japanese agricultural machinery-maker.

A human driver is not necessary in the planting process, but the machine does need to be monitored by a person with a remote controller.

Rice-planting is usually done by two people — one to drive a planting machine and an assistant to keep it filled with seedlings. The automated rice-planter reduces the number of people needed for the process to one as the person monitoring the machine can also refill it with seedlings.

Demand for self-driving farming machinery is high because of manpower shortages and the aging of farmers. Kubota has already launched tractors and combine harvesters with self-driving functions.


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