Burro Hauls in $10.9 Million for its Autonomous Farm Robot Platform
The new money will go towards deploying more than 500 robots next year.
Burro AI (formerly Augean Robotics), which makes an autonomous hauling vehicle for farms, announced today that it has raised a $10.9 million Series A round of funding led by S2G Ventures and Toyota Ventures, with F-Prime Capital and the Cibus Enterprise Fund joining, along with existing investors including Radicle Growth and ffVC.
Burro makes a rugged, self-driving vehicle of the same name meant for hauling crops and equipment around farms. The Burro can follow workers around, carrying shovels and picks or other gear; or it can act as an autonomous conveyor belt, moving harvested crops around a field.
In today’s press announcement, Burro said its robots feature a technology the company calls “Pop Up Autonomy.” Burro says the robots use computer vision and AI to learn a new environment on the fly and navigate autonomously from point to point.
Ultimately, Burro is developing an autonomous platform that will expand its capabilities beyond just hauling. The Burro could eventually sport attachments for spraying, tilling, weeding and more.
Burro has 90 robots in operation right now in table grape fields, self-driving across 100 - 300 miles each day. The company says one Burro can enable more than six people to harvest up to 48 percent more fruit per day for a less than two month ROI.
In a bit of cosmic kismet, Burro’s announcement happened on the same day Future Acres, which also makes an autonomous farm vehicle platform (dubbed “Carry”), announced a new partnership with Sun World International. Sun World develops and licenses grapes and other stone fruits and will promote the use of Carry to its network of 2,000 growers.
While Burro and Future Acres might be rivals, today’s rush of news highlights how the ag market is accelerating its demand for autonomous vehicles and robotics. With farms experiencing acute labor shortages, tools like Burro and Carry can help farms do more with fewer people. Plus, robots like Burro and Carry can take over some of the extremely hard and often dangerous work of hauling crops in extreme heat and other inclement weather.
With its new money, Burro said it will expand its fleet to more than 5000 robots next year to keep up with demand. The company will also expand into nursery and berry markets.