LYRO Robotics seeks US$3.5m investment to tackle food waste and labour shortages
LYRO Robotics is helping prevent food wastage and increase efficiency with its intelligent pattern packing machine. The internationally acclaimed technology is gaining traction with producers, and now raising a seed investment round of US$3-3.5 million.
The robots are coming.
The ominous sentiment has echoed through science-fiction for decades, but the dystopian warnings are pure imagination according to those at the forefront of the artificial intelligence revolution.
Dr Nicole Robinson, PhD in human-robot interaction and Co-founder and CEO of LYRO Robotics, is one of the innovators creating a future of intelligent machines working with us for a better world.
“Humans naturally excel at things like socialising, being empathetic and using creativity,” said Nicole.
“Intelligent machines can help us with what doesn’t come naturally – navigating new spaces, processing and translating data, and excessive manual labour.
“When artificial intelligence and humans work together for the same goal, that has only positive outcomes.
“They allow us to reach our highest potential by helping solve everyday problems.”
LYRO Robotics is helping solve one of the agriculture industry’s most pressing problems – labour shortages, and is now raising a seed investment round of US$3-3.5 million from investors and strategic partners to support its manufacturing and deployment scale up.
Interested in LYRO Robotics’ commercial opportunity? Visit growAG. here to learn more.
There are an estimated 27,000 unfilled packing jobs at Australian farms alone, with growers struggling to source enough workers to prevent food wastage.
By deploying intelligent pick and pack robotic systems to farms around
Australia, LYRO is helping create efficient, reliable and secure food supply chains.
How robotics can cost-effectively streamline on-farm packing
LYRO robots use a combination of artificial intelligence, computer vision and unique grasping technology to reliably pattern pack a wide variety of produce including avocados, mangoes, pineapples, zucchinis and sweet potatoes.
The machine looks at fruit that has rolled into its conveyor belt, identifying each one that needs to be picked up, and then uses different cameras and sensors to precisely place the produce into boxes in a way that optimise shipping.
“We have created the full technology stack – the brain, the eyes and the hands,” said LYRO Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Dr Juxi Leitner.
“Marrying computer vision with advanced grasp detection and high-level decision making allows our robots to do much more than simply put things in boxes – it lets them tackle a range of challenges which were previously too delicate or complex to trust to a machine.”
The robots can be quickly installed on existing packing lines, with farmers only paying for how much the robot packs, making it easy to incorporate LYRO into existing operations and financial systems.
“Unlike traditional automation systems, there’s no upfront expense and extended downtime as the solution is installed,” said Juxi.
“We can have a robot up and running in an hour, working on a produce packing line alongside people.
“The difference is that our robot will pack for 24 hours straight if fruit is available for packing.
“We’re looking to scale up operations to reach farmers across Australia, helping them meet the labour shortages which threaten to stop their precious crops making it to the supermarket shelves.”
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Meeting the needs of growers using robotic technology
While LYRO is focused on post-harvest fresh produce packing, the robotic system can handle any scenario where non-uniform objects need to be packed, such as meal kits, pre-packaged meals for airlines and frozen goods.
“There’s always going to be some sort of picking and packing in the food supply chain, both upstream and downstream, where our product can be of assistance,” said Nicole.
“Robotic systems can be used across so many different growing sites, and it's been exciting to branch into new varieties of fruits and vegetables.
“We’ve taken a lot of time building and refining our product, listening to growers and understanding what they need from a robotic solution.
“It’s starting to gain a lot of traction and interest from growers who want to talk about how we can help with their operations in different areas.”
Bundaberg grower, John Steemson from Litabella Pines is one of dozens of producers already benefitting from LYRO’s robotic technology.
“Even long-term employees roll their eyes if we tell them their job for the day is sorting pineapple plants, and it’s always challenging trying to hire extra labour for these tasks,” said John.
“It’s difficult to keep people focused for long periods doing repetitive and unstimulating jobs, but this robot can do it day-in, day-out with very reliable accuracy.”
LYRO Robotic Pineapple Sorting in Queensland
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Building momentum to deploy robotic solutions for agriculture
The LYRO team won the 2017 Amazon Robotics Challenge in Japan, inspiring confidence to develop and later commercialise the technology.
Having completed 10 in-field trials within Queensland, LYRO’s sales pipeline has reached more than 25 robot deployments throughout QLD and NSW.
To continue driving momentum, LYRO is now raising a seed investment round of US$3-3.5 million and seeking engagement from investors and strategic partners to support deployment and development of the technology to LYRO’s robust customer base.
LYRO has at least one robotic deployment planned for the Asia Pacific region this year (likely Japan or Thailand), and another deployment in the US (likely California).
- Interested in LYRO Robotics’ commercial opportunity? Learn more here.
The innovative solution continues to gain traction, following LYRO’s selection in the evokeAG. Investor Pitch Dinner, held at the recent evokeAG. 2023 Down to Earth event in Adelaide.
Nicole pitched to a room full of domestic and international investors, alongside four other agrifood tech founders and received great feedback from the evokeAG. Investor Pitch Dinner.
“We had contact with dozens of local and international investors,” said LYRO General Manager Mark Adams.
“It’s rare to have to so many investors of this calibre in the same room. We foresee meaningful partnerships evolving from this event.”
“LYRO is incredibly excited to be part of the growAG. platform,” said LYRO General Manager, Mark Adams.
“We recently debuted on the platform with this fundraise and have been pleased at the inbound response and quality of the potential investors."
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