In 2020, 5 million people in the UK were facing food insecurity. Fieldwork Robotics is setting out to tackle this by using automated AI harvesting equipment to boost the amount of produce that makes it from farm to plate.
Automation and innovation in the agricultural industry is typically low. And until recently, this hadn’t posed a significant or urgent threat to food availability, with the UK having excellent access to workers not only in Britain but across the European Union. However, travel restrictions and difficulties over the past few years have severely impacted this access, and today the UK industry is lacking 90,000 critical harvesters.
Rui Andres, CEO of Fieldwork Robotics, is setting out to make it possible for farmers to harvest everything they have produced and improve access to food by filling current capacity gaps with smart robotics that automate some aspects of the harvesting process. The company has developed an innovative, smart, technologically-driven machine that’s not only able to identify ripe produce for picking, but also harvest even the most delicate fruits and vegetables, such as raspberries, without damage.
With help from the Sustainable Innovation Fund, Fieldwork Robotics were able to commercialise the robotic prototype and reach out to both customers and commercial partners, taking the next step in both reducing waste and tackling food insecurity and food poverty which are both becoming growing problems both in the UK and abroad.