If you think yard work is hard, try hauling around a wheelbarrow while picking grapes or other crops … over and over again, all day long. A robotics startup has come up with Burro, a robot version of a small donkey that can haul up to 500 pounds for a farm worker, improving productivity by 20 to 30%, according to Augean Robotics.
“We have a car that follows, learns routes and reruns them on its own,” says Charlie Andersen, CEO of the startup, headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “There could be a consumer iteration of it” in the future.
Augean Robotics chose agriculture because the industry is ripe for robots that can help people who are working outdoors, harvesting crops.
The Burro works like a virtual conveyor belt by following workers, moving cargo autonomously and capturing data to further automate farm work.
“We are finding that in many hand-harvested crops—things like table grapes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries—each person picking walks several miles each day carrying heavy containers of what they’ve picked back and forth,” Andersen explains.
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