Firms want to use robotics and AI to revolutionize farming, but, they have to prove there’s a market for what they are growing.
Robot farming startup Iron Ox has taken the initial step in doing this, announcing now that it’s selling robot-reared leafy greens in one place in California. The company, which launched last October, is offering three kinds of greens in the San Carlos branch of Bianchini’s Market, a family-owned grocery store that specializes in local and organic produce.
Iron Ox is one of several companies hoping to automate the human-intensive work of agriculture. It employs a blend of robotic picking arms, hydroponic vats, and self-driving porters to grow veggies. However, despite the repeated claims that its cultivation is”autonomous,” individuals are still needed for a whole lot of the work. Laborers plant seedlings and bundle plants when they’re ready to consume: robots only tend them while they’re growing.
Iron Ox says the greens it is producing for Bianchini’s travel are just 0.6 miles to arrive there, which is half of the distance traveled with a typical head of lettuce. This means lower transport costs and fewer food miles, a significant factor in regards to the environmental effect of everything you put on your plate.
It’s selling just three varieties of leafy greens and sending them to Bianchini’s just once weekly. The rates are not exorbitant, but they are on the expensive side. A two-ounce box of red-veined sorrel is for $2.49, a two-ounce box of Genevieve basil charges $2.99, and four heads of baby lettuce is about $4.99.
That is competitive alongside Whole Foods, where four heads of”artisanal” lettuce cost $3.24, however pricey compared to Walmart, which sells an 11-oz box of greens for less than $5.
Nonetheless, it’s only the beginning for Iron Ox and the new wave of automated farming startups. Also, if the market they’re trying to create starts to grow, Nobody would know what they would bring to the groceries!