Podcast: The story behind Tortuga’s autonomous harvesting robots

Eric Adamson, CEO and co-founder of Tortuga, joins the show to discuss agricultural robotics. Tortuga is one of the agtech companies leading the charge to transform greenhouse farming with their autonomous harvesting robots.

Eric discusses the difficulties and successes of developing robots for use in greenhouses, shedding light on the processes involved in harvesting strawberries, grapes, and tomatoes. This episode offers an intriguing look into how robotics and agriculture are influencing the future of food production, from overcoming design limits to investigating creative alternatives.

The interview with Eric starts at the 26:15 mark.

In the news this week

Figure AI raised a whopping $675 million to commercialize humanoids. With the Series B funding, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company is now valued at $2.6 billion. Microsoft, OpenAI Startup Fund, NVIDIA, Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund, Jeff Bezos (through Bezos Expeditions), Parkway Venture Capital, Intel Capital, Align Ventures, and ARK Invest were among the investors.

Figure AI said it will work with OpenAI on the next generation of AI models for humanoids. This will be done by combining OpenAI’s language research with Figure’s robotics hardware and software expertise. Figure said it will use Microsoft Azure for AI training, storage, and servers.

This is shot across the bow for Tesla and the Optimus team, but it really adds fuel the race to commercialize humanoids.

Electric Sheep Robotics launched Verdie, a robot using its proprietary artificial intelligence and software. Electric Sheep aims to be the first large-scale outdoor maintenance company powered by AI and robotics. Verdie uses AI to understand the lawns around them and efficiently care for them, said Electric Sheep. Based on recent advances in generative AI, ES1 is a learned-world model that enables reasoning and planning for both robots.

One more update: On last week’s show, the Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus had just successfully landed on the moon, but what we didn’t know at the time was that it tipped over in the final moments of the landing procedure. It was supposed to survive for 14 days, before the lunar night, but it only lasted a week, and stopped transmitting yesterday.

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Written by

Mike Oitzman

Mike Oitzman is Senior Editor of WTWH's Robotics Group, cohost of The Robot Report Podcast, and founder of the Mobile Robot Guide. Oitzman is a robotics industry veteran with 25-plus years of experience at various high-tech companies in the roles of marketing, sales and product management. He can be reached at moitzman@wtwhmedia.com.