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Future Acres to partner with Sun World International and expand advisory board

Future Acres, an agricultural robotics startup, has agreed a partnership with global plant variety breeder and genetics licensor Sun World International to further develop its proprietary technology.

Future Acres’ stated mission is to bring “sustainable agricultural robotics to the farm industry in order to optimize workforce efficiency and safety”.

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.

Jeffrey Jackson, EVP of Sun World International, says: “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.

“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.

Suma Reddy, CEO of Future Acres, says: “This collaboration is monumental for our development and will enable us to gain unmatched intel directly from the source.

“By getting Carry into the hands of those who know the stressors of field work and what the job demands, we will be able to improve upon the technology and tailor its offerings to meet those very specific needs.

“Carry is the future of harvesting, and we believe our alignment with Sun World will make an even greater impact on the lives of those in the field, all while reducing costs and helping farmers to stay profitable. We project that this collaboration represents an over $100 million opportunity for Future Acres.”

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.

Future Acres continues to see traction with investors in their crowdfunding campaign, which is currently underway on SeedInvest.

The platform gives more everyday investors an opportunity to capitalize on the US agricultural robotics market – which could reach nearly $88 billion by 2025 – and be a part of shaping the future of the industry by investing in Intelligent Automation.

Future Acres is backed by experts in the robotics and automation space. Its lead investor, Wavemaker Partners, is a global venture capital fund with over $600 million assets under management, and its studio, Wavemaker Labs, focuses directly on automation.

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