Saga Robotics, which makes an autonomous robotic platform for agriculture, announced this week that it has raised €9.5 million Euros (~$11.35 million USD). Hortidaily writes that the investment was led by Nysnø Climate Investments with ADM Capital Europe and the Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund, with participation from other Norwegian investors.
The Saga Robotics’ platform, dubbed “Thorvald,” is modular and can accomplish a number of different tasks on a farm. We recently wrote about how its UV-light capabilities are being used to kill off mildew on crops without the use of pesticides. According to the Saga Robotics website, Thorvald is also capable of “picking fruits and vegetables, phenotyping, in-field transportation, cutting grass for forage, spraying and data collection/crop prediction.”
Saga’s funding comes at a time when robotics are poised to play a more central role in our agriculture system. In traditional agriculture, farm workers often have to deal with extreme temperatures and other environmental conditions and hazards. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated and worsened these issues by impacting the flow of labor and becoming a source of outbreaks because of the cramped working conditions.
Robots can potentially help alleviate some of the stresses on farms. In addition to being able to work around the clock and in extreme heat, robots also also don’t get sick and reduce vectors for human-to-human disease transmission.
Saga is among a wave of robotics companies working on agricultural solutions. Small Robot Company, Farmwise, Advanced Farm Technologies, and Augean Robotics are just some of the companies coming to market with automated farm solutions.