Fieldwork Robotics

This interview details Fieldwork Robotics, an indoor farming technology company based in the UK. The interview is with David Fulton, CEO of Fieldwork Robotics.

Source: Fieldwork Robotics

What is the origin story of Fieldwork Robotics?

Fieldwork Robotics was founded by Professor Martin Stoelen in 2016 and was a spin out of the University of Plymouth. Prof. Stoelen continues to take an active role in the business, and his fascination with soft robotics has led to the creation of the world’s first fully autonomous robotic harvester of fresh raspberries.

 

Source: Fieldwork Robotics

What are some of the biggest challenges facing Fieldwork Robotics in the future?

We are working on staying focussed on the harvesting of raspberries, as demand for harvesting other soft fruits is gaining traction. One of the key differentiators of Fieldwork Robotics is its modular design, and the ability to develop relatively easy modifications to harvest other soft fruits, as well as environments such as vertical farming. The focus of Fieldwork Robotics remains relentless on the Raspberry sector, and to provide this solution to growers globally to remain competitive in the wake of increasing labour costs, and a shortage of human pickers that results in significant crop wastage. We are looking for longer term collaborations and next gen infrastructure partnerships in vertical farming to enable ease of integration of the Fieldwork capabilities. 

Source: Fieldwork Robotics

 

What is unique about Fieldwork Robotics compared to competitors?

Fieldwork is the only company to have manufactured an autonomous harvesting solution for raspberries. Our IP sits clearly with the relationship our robot has with the crop, that allows for undamaged harvesting of raspberries, the most difficult of the soft fruits. We have a number of additional features, such as modularity of design to allow for other harvesting solutions, and interoperability meaning that our robot can be used with existing robotic base navigation systems, and use of existing base technologies that operate in Vertical farming environments. 

Source: Fieldwork Robotics

What are some other relevant metrics of the company (growing area size, production quantity, team size, etc.)?

Fieldwork is primarily focused on making our technology as cost-effective for farmers as possible. The main way we are looking at doing this is by enhancing the operational efficiency of our robots, resulting in a reduced harvest cost per berry for growers. As there is no finite number of robots, we can deliver a lower harvest cost to growers. We have been working closely on increasing the number of berries picked per hour, and hours of operation, two areas that will further enhance the economic benefits of our technology to growers. Our team is our core and is developing in breadth and depth with several key hires, including our new CFO, Supply Chain Manager, and appointing a lead Project Manager to establish our PMO, and two recently awarded, significant Innovate UK Grants.

Source: Fieldwork Robotics

 

What are some goals in 2024 and beyond for Fieldwork Robotics?

In 2Q24, we will be closing our Seed + investment round that will allow us to progress with a manufacturing partner, and localized operations in Australia and the USA, and expect to produce up to 30 robots prior to our Series A planned late 2025.

 

How can people connect with you or learn more about Fieldwork Robotics?

Fieldwork has an active LinkedIn page which is the best place to follow our progress. Our website is also kept up to date with relevant news.

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