Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Farmbot startup LYRO Robotics raises $1.5M for Series A to solve labor shortages

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Queensland-based start-up LYRO Robotics has raised $1.5 million in a pre-Series A to help local farmers bring their products to market.

The round was supported by several international and domestic investors, including: Artesian/Boab AI and AgFunder join the original investor, Japan’s Toyo Kanetsu.

LYRO has built the world’s first autonomous robot, which can pick up delicate fresh produce from a conveyor belt and pack it into boxes. The startup plans to fulfill orders for more than 20 robots through the capital injection.

Food waste costs agriculture up to $2 billion a year, with 31% of produce being wasted before it even leaves the farm.

With Australian farmers struggling, alongside businesses in general, for workers to help pick and pack produce, the amount of food wasted due to labor shortages, LYRO Robotics provides robotic packaging as-a-service for farmers in Queensland, also solving the challenge of the initial capital cost of moving to automation.

The LYRO robots can be quickly installed on existing packing lines and farmers only pay for how much the robot packs, with no upfront capital expenditure, making it easier for farmers to incorporate the robot into their existing operations and financial systems.

A LYRO robot in action

The startup was founded by a team of leading experts in robotic vision, deep learning and grasping. They previously worked at the Australian Center for Robotic Vision and won the 2017 Amazon Robotics Challenge as ‘Team ACRV’ to create a robot that can identify, pick up and store warehouse goods.

Co-founder Juxi Leitner said that after two years of research and development, LYRO Robotics is initially focused on the needs of agriculture, but the technology can be applied to a wide variety of challenges, from manufacturing and storage to recycling.

“We’ve created the entire technology stack — the brain, the eyes and the hands,” he said.

“By combining computer vision with advanced grab detection and high-level decision making, our robots can do much more than just box things up – it enables them to tackle a range of challenges that were previously too delicate or complex to handle on a machine.” to trust.”

dr. Leitner said youUnlike traditional automation systems, there are no upfront costs and longer downtime when the solution is installed.

“We can have a robot up and running with humans on a product packaging line in under an hour,” he said.

“We want to scale our operations to reach farmers across Australia and help them overcome the labor shortages that keep their precious crops off supermarket shelves.”

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