Kubota and Yamaha Motor additionally invest in U.S. startup developing robots to automate strawberry harvesting

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Kubota Corporation (Headquarters: Osaka City, Osaka, President Yuichi Kitao, hereinafter “Kubota”) and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Iwata City, Shizuoka, President Yoshihiro Hidaka, hereinafter “Yamaha Motor”) have additionally invested in U.S. startup Advanced Farm Technologies (hereinafter “AFT”).

AFT is a U.S. – based startup seeking to raise efficiency in the agriculture field by developing and manufacturing robots for strawberry harvesting. Their TX robotic strawberry harvester combines an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) together with image sensors and artificial intelligence (AI). Those image recognition technology instantly distinguishes ripe and ready strawberries and the grippers at the end of the robot arms gently pick each one. In addition, these automation technologies allow to significantly reduce conventional manned fruit & vegetable processes and maximize operational efficiency.

With this investment, Kubota and Yamaha Motor will utilize the technologies of both companies to accelerate technological development and business expansion aimed at implementing automated farming solutions which is promoted by AFT for ground crops and tree crops.

This collaborated initiative was realized from the process of open innovation support promoted by each company’s “new division”. Kubota established “Innovation Center” in 2019, as divisions to promote open innovation through partnerships with external organizations. Those activities allow Kubota to deepen its knowledge of advanced agritech and its business models, thus accelerating the development of its solution business. The Yamaha Motor Group is also using its group company Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley (YMVSV) established in 2015 to gain a foothold in CVC* activities through this investment.

* CVC(Corporate Venture Capital)

Working together with external partners, both companies will advance open innovation for proactive engagement with advanced technologies in the broad agricultural field and will work for the purpose of accelerating the creation of new businesses, products, and services to address various global social issues.

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