Arugga is an Israeli startup developing an autonomous robot for treating and monitoring individual plants in greenhouses. The company just completed a $4 million series A funding round led by Smart Agro, an agri-tech R&D partnership traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
Founded in 2017, Arugga declares that it is the first company to develop a robot that successfully replicates bumblebee buzz pollination in a commercial tomato greenhouse. Arugga is developing an autonomous ground robot which will treat and monitor individual plants in the greenhouse. The robotic platform will support several modules: robotic pollination, non-contact pruning, pest & disease detection and yield prediction.
The startup says that its mechanical pollination module aims to replace the work of dwindling labor forces in countries where pollination is done manually. And it will also replace the work of bumblebees, the most widely used pollination solution, thus solving sensitivity to environmental conditions and pesticides, and preventing the spread of viruses.
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Israel has always been at the forefront of aggrotech since the early days of the first Zionist settlements. The country drained swamps and established farms in the dessert. Nowadays Israelis have combined their country’s history of agricultural innovation with its high tech innovation. Startup Nation finds ways to deal with the world’s water and food production problems while offsetting the problems with animal waste and carbon emissions. Redefine Meat is one of a number of Israeli startups moving forward in providing the technology necessary to give the world viable meat alternatives. It does so by way of 3D printing technology. Israeli startup The Mediterranean Food Lab develops natural plant-based flavor bases for the alternative meat sector.
“Our robotic platforms will eventually encompass additional solutions: pest & disease detection (and treatment), yield prediction and pruning.”
Equipped with cameras and AI-based computer vision, Arruga’s robot recognizes flowers ready for pollination. Its air-pressure mechanism then applies calibrated air pulses to the selected flower. The pollination robot will work when both temperature and humidity levels are optimal in the greenhouse. The company further boasts that its solution will bring about key advantages to growers currently using bees: A non-contact solution preventing the spread of diseases by bees.
Smart Agro Fund is an R&D partnership traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Smart Agro specializes in agritech investments and the growth of agritech companies. Smart Agro states that it seeks to invest in the research and business development of companies which have the power to significantly impact our future and help transition them to independent professionally managed companies who at their core, have a unique technology with tremendous commercial promise and economic value.
Smart Agro boasts a highly experienced management team with an extensive business network that supports the development of ideas and start-ups from early stage through mature companies to exit.
“The Israeli agro-tech industry is experiencing significant momentum,” said Smart Agro CEO Dganit Vered. “The growth in the world’s population, alongside the shortage in resources like water, land, and bees, and the continuous war against plant disease requires creative technological solutions. I believe that the introduction of innovative technologies like that of Arugga will provide a real solution for the existing problems in the global market of greenhouse agriculture.”