Fieldwork Robotics Ltd. (Fieldwork), a developer of modular harvesting robots, has been granted £1.1m from he Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to advance its berry-harvesting solution.
The company will be working alongside berry grower Hall Hunter Partnership to improve the performance of its robot, Alpha, in the hopes of offering operational and profitable robotics harvesting services to UK raspberry growers by 2025.
Alana Deacon, head of operations, Hall Hunter Partnership, said: “The challenge of labour shortages is and continues to be a pressing concern for farmers in the United Kingdom.
“To mitigate these concerns, it is imperative that we foster close collaboration with cutting-edge solutions designed to strengthen the industry, ensuring not only its resilience but also its sustained growth and prosperity. We are pleased to be supporting UK farming innovation through our involvement with this project.”
Performance Projects Ltd will also support the scheme. The company develops robust mobile platforms for agricultural robots and has built the GoFar agritech platform using OxDrive hub motors, which will be harnessed to create the mobile platform for Fieldwork’s robot to increase uptime and mobility.
HHP’s raspberry farms will be used as a testbed for the technology to help make adjustments based on real-word usage and to support the identification of the optimum raspberry growing environment.
David Fulton, CEO of Fieldwork Robotics, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded this Innovate UK grant and I am thrilled that we will be working with Performance Projects and the Hall Hunter Partnership, two leading organisations in the robotics and engineering and raspberry market sectors.
“We look forward to leading the team as we progress our technology to tackle significant issues in the UK agriculture sector: labour shortages and food waste.”
This grant award follows a recent funding round of more than £3m.