Future Acres – a startup bringing sustainable agricultural robotics to the farm industry in order to optimize workforce efficiency and safety – has announced a collaboration agreement with global plant variety breeder and genetics licensor Sun World International to further develop its proprietary technology. The collaboration begins with an initial testing and pilot program at Sun World's International Center for Innovation and will include collaborative commercialization of Future Acres with Sun World's 2,000 growers farming on 55,000 acres around the world, who could socialize the equipment and technology.
For more than 30 years, Sun World researchers have worked on the development of new and more flavorful fruits and vegetables – utilizing their expertise to breed and introduce new superior produce varieties. Given the volume of specialty crops that Sun World licenses – including table grapes, peaches and nectarines – the company saw a need to incorporate Future Acres' technology into their research program.
"We've been following Future Acres very closely since their launch earlier this year and continue to be amazed at the machine learning and computer vision capabilities of their flagship product, Carry," said Jeffrey Jackson, EVP of Sun World International.
"We're interested in anything that improves the productivity and profitability of our licensed growers and think Carry could be a game-changing technology to not only streamline the harvesting process but exponentially improve the day-to-day lives of field workers. We couldn't be more excited to couple our vast reach and capabilities with Future Acres' already impressive technology to hopefully take the agricultural industry into the next level of innovation."
Sun World is currently testing the technology and plans to begin the official pilot program during the harvest season this year.
Future Acres' link to Sun World was made possible through its work with newly added advisor, Stavros Vougioukas, an associate professor of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis. Vougioukas runs the school's research lab focused on the mechanization and automation of specialty crop production. Vougioukas previously worked on a similar project for Sun World, and now works with Future Acres to accelerate their development and unlock key R&D and commercial opportunities. Bringing 20 years of agricultural robotics research expertise to the company, Vougioukas will continue to progress Future Acres' software – particularly related to their localization prowess.
For more information: futureacres.co