Engineering consultancy start-up Vision AI has clinched an $8 million deal that could revolutionize the labor-intensive task of growing fruit and vegetables. The company will use new technology to introduce labor efficiencies into operations at Victorian glasshouse fruit and vegetable grower Flavorite. By introducing production improvements and quality standardization, the equipment and machinery will enable the grower to grade fruits more quickly than its peers. The staged project will see the first prototype delivered mid-2024, with final delivery a year later.

Vision AI founder Mark Strangio-McRae launched Vision AI three and a half years ago, self-funding the business after forging a 21-year career in the automation space. The technology has been mostly picked up by food and drink manufacturers.

Strangio-McRae is aware of the opportunity that Australian food producers represent, particularly amid the labor shortages hitting the industry in recent years: “Food producers are looking at technology to build shortcuts they never thought was possible to support ongoing labor market challenges. Automating fruit processing has the potential to change the dynamics of the entire farming industry. Our partnership looks to enhance Australian automation capabilities, not just for our local industry, but for global markets seeking world-class technology to support growth in this industry.”