Developers of advanced, intelligent robotic systems, MetMotion, help growers operate farms of the future. With its technology, the company aims to transform indoor farming production in modern greenhouses.
By utilising its smart robotics platform, farmers and growers can solve labour shortages, reduce costs and improve yields.
This $5 million investment round was led by Ridder, a leading greenhouse technology company that will incorporate MetoMotion’s technology into its own, and Navus Ventures, the family investment office of Lely. Navus invest in unique high-tech and sustainable start-ups and scale-ups that drive the transitions in food and energy.
Adi Nir, CEO of MetoMotion commented on the latest round of funding, he said: "This investment by Ridder and Navus is an exciting development for MetoMotion. Beyond the funding, our investors bring a combination of rich knowledge, experience and understanding of the greenhouse and ag robotics industry that provides us with an unparalleled partnership in launching a system that is a great match for market needs and truly helps growers solve pressing issues in greenhouse farming."
Utilising AI computing to improve greenhouse operations
GRoW, MetoMotion’s robot, with its state-of-the-art technology, utilises the latest artificial intelligence (AI) based computing for 3D perception. It is specially designed with flexible motion control and path planning algorithms.
These algorithms give the robot precise motion between plants and a unique design that fits the modern greenhouse environment.
The robot also has dual arms which enable it to harvest on both sides of the greenhouse row.
During the harvesting period, MetoMotion automatically collects information to provide valuable insights into yield forecast and yield distribution analysis. By collecting this information, growers can gain improved crop management.
For seamless integration with existing production procedures, the GRoW robot packs the crops into standard industry boxes. It can also be used for pruning, pollination, de-leafing and data collection for cultivation analysis.
AI technology solving problems in the greenhouse industry
MetoMotion will use the funding to finalise R&D activities, to set up production and marketing activities and launch the commercial product.
By introducing its technologies into the market, MetoMotion is helping to support a key problem facing the greenhouse industry. Greenhouse labour costs can comprise up to 50% of total production costs.
This issue was apparent even before the pandemic and greenhouse growers faced critical labour problems. These problems included labour shortages and the challenge to retain the skilled workers they already had.
Joep Van den Bosch, Chief Innovation Officer at Ridder, highlighted the importance of the partnership with MetoMotion, he said: "Growers have to do more with less. Automating labour is a key component in that. By adding greenhouse robotics to our Ridder product portfolio, we lower the threshold for growers to step into the robotic age and integrate the generated data with all other Ridder systems in the greenhouse environment."
The technological offering MetoMotion provides allows growers to expand their product offerings to meet the demand for sustainable vegetable harvesting throughout the year.