The FIRA USA agricultural automation convention and commerce present kicked off with robotic demonstrations, a provider commerce present and shows on September 19 in Salinas, California.
A whole lot of attendees watched greater than 50 exhibitors unfold throughout the Salinas Sports activities Advanced rodeo grounds within the area identified for its prolific manufacturing of berries and greens.
“We wished to do that occasion the place farmers actually farm and meals actually grows,” stated Gabriel Youtsey, director of innovation on the College of California’s Division of Agriculture and Pure Sources and one of many session moderators.
In its second 12 months, FIRA is organized by agricultural teams that purpose to convey specialty crop producers into the period of robotics, machine studying and synthetic intelligence. The three-day convention will proceed till September 21.
It was held in Fresno in 2022.
Outdoors, autonomous sprayers, driverless tractors and robotic weeders demonstrated in orchards, a welded iron winery and a block of potted timber lined up in rows to simulate an orchard.
One of many highlights was Agtonomy, a Bay Space startup that factory-equips small tractors with automation conversions, permitting for spraying, hauling containers, mowing and different duties with a distant operator. The ultimate product is a heavier model of Burro, one other California tech startup that makes a robotic cart utilized in harvesting desk grapes and blueberries. Donkey additionally demonstrated at FIRA.
Agtonomy has take a look at prospects in vineyards, however goals to check its merchandise within the Washington tree fruit trade subsequent 12 months, stated Jeff Ota, vp of engineering.
Inside, shows and panel discussions coated matters reminiscent of a pause on enterprise capital funding, preserving know-how segments open supply, and coaching employees to make use of and restore the robotic machines of the long run.
Jennifer Marston, world agtech editor at AgFunder, informed the gang that funding for agtech was down in 2022 after excessive ranges in 2021.
“It is a robust time to be a tech startup,” he stated.
He suspects producers must get extra concerned in know-how discussions early on, answering primary questions like “What actually must be automated?”
Amongst Tuesday’s guests had been roughly 250 highschool FFA college students.
—by Ross Courtney