Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Artificial intelligence opportunity ripe for the picking

Ripe Robotics is on the hunt for investors to join them on the journey towards automating the food-growing process. Its technology aims to help farmers overcome labour shortages by autonomously picking fruit, with a $2.8 million seed investment round to help expand its fleet^.

Picking machinery picking apples in a orchard.
Ripe Robotics latest prototype Eve | Words by Tim Vetter

Meet Eve, the latest prototype developed by Ripe Robotics.

Its biblical namesake may have been banished from the Garden of Eden for picking fruit, but farmers around the country are calling out for Eve to help them do just that.

The automated solution could be a game-changer for growers struggling to find enough workers to harvest their produce.

Ripe Robotics CEO and Co-founder, Hunter Jay, said the reliance on handpicking is resulting in fruit being damaged or left on trees.

“It’s a very slow, inefficient process that requires each worker to be trained to avoid bruising the fruit,” said Hunter.

“It’s not surprising that less people are putting their hand up to do it, especially because the work is only available for half the year.

“Farmers used to rely on workers coming from Pacific Island nations like Samoa, but a lot of those governments aren’t allowing that now because they want to keep their skilled workers in the country. 

“So even the people that do want to help out aren’t able to come and do it.

“Farmers spend months growing this fruit, and just can’t get people to harvest it. It’s a big, big problem.”

RELATED: Learn more about Ripe Robotics $2.8 million seed investment round^

The Artificial Intelligence solution, that’s more than fruit picking

Related organisations

Logo for Ripe Robotics

Ripe Robotics

Ripe Robotics designs, builds, and operates robots which pick apples and stone fruit.
  • Location

    Victoria, Australia

  • Organisation type

    Startup or Scaleup or SME

Ripe Robotics CEO and Co-founder, Hunter Jay
Ripe Robotics CEO and Co-founder, Hunter Jay

Ripe Robotics has developed a machine which picks apples, plums, peaches, and nectarines with a specially designed suction cup, using artificial intelligence to analyse each piece of fruit for size, colour and quality.

Like a human picker, farmers pay based on the amount of fruit harvested, but will gain additional data-based insights collected by the machine.

“Fruit picking is just the beginning for Ripe Robotics,” said Hunter.

“The machine takes pictures of every single piece of fruit it harvests, and farmers can use that data over time to help with disease detection, damage prevention and making decisions to increase yield and quality.

“As the robots keep gathering data and we keep upgrading them, they can expand from fruit picking into all these other tasks like thinning, pruning, spraying, and on-farm sorting and analytics.

“We’ve spoken to growers all over Australia and New Zealand and they are desperate to make this happen faster.”

The start of a fruitful journey

The prototype, Eve, is currently picking apples on McNab Orchards in Shepparton, with Ripe Robotics raising a $2.8 million seed investment round to expand its commercial fleet to four machines.

Hunter said the company has two signed contracts worth up to $5 million per year, and expressions of interest from dozens of other growers in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, and Europe.

“We’ve now got the prototype machine autonomously picking a significant amount, so the next step is scaling up the fleet to the point of commercial viability,” he said.

“With much less funding than our competitors, we have reached a similar stage with a machine that can be built and operated at a fraction of the price.

RELATED: LYRO Robotics seeks A$3.5m investment to tackle food waste and labour shortages^

Ripe Robotics Robot picking an apple

“Our modular design is simple, scalable, patent-pending, and designed especially for our local manufacturing and maintenance model.”

The company is now keen to work with investors who understand the broader implications of the technology.

RELATED: Human-like robotics to save time and food waste

“We’re just at the beginning of our journey, so we want people to come onboard who are as passionate as us about where artificial intelligence can take the industry,” he said.

“This is about gathering enough data so we can use AI to really optimise orchards all the way through the picking season and beyond.

“Our goal is to fully automate the process of growing food.”

Learn more or enquire about this opportunity here


^This investment opportunity is only for professional and sophisticated investors as defined in the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). The content of this opportunity is intended for use by persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments and must not be acted or relied upon by any other person including, without limitation, retail clients.

Looking for engagement?

Showcase your commercialisation opportunity today.

Talk to our team to discuss how growAG. can connect your innovation to industry.

Have questions? Find answers to our most frequently asked questions on research projects, commercial opportunities, organisations and more.