Saga Robotics, the Norway- and UK-based developer of Thorvald, an autonomous and modular agricultural robot platform, has raised €9.5m (£8.5m) to support future growth plans and further the development of its farming technology.
The funding round was led by Norwegian sovereign climate investment company Nysnø Climate Investments, London-based ADM Capital Europe LLP and Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund, the investment arm of Dutch agricultural bank Rabobank.
Saga’s robotic solutions aim to address growing labour shortages in agriculture and make farming more sustainable and energy efficient by reducing soil compression, CO2 emissions and production losses due to mildew, in tun reducing pesticide and fungicide use and increasing plant yields.
According to the company, the new funding will help it to meet an increasing necessity for automation and data-driven insights in how food is grown and harvested.
Pål Johan From, CEO of Saga Robotics, said: “Agriculture has experienced enormous development in recent decades, which has enabled much of the population growth, as well as the growth in prosperity we have seen in the last 50 years.
“Now that we must double our food production again by 2050, we see that robotisation and digitalisation will be key elements in the agricultural revolution that is needed to achieve these goals.
“Our goal is for Thorvald to play a key role in the transition to more sustainable and efficient farming practises, and we see enormous market opportunities for growth internationally in all the segments we operate in.”
Saga Robotics is currently involved in several projects developing tools for strawberry picking, weeding and crop prediction, and is part of a consortium to develop the world’s first robotic farm in the UK.
Development of an autonomous strawberry picker is also underway.
The first Thorvald robot was built in Norway in 2014 and 30 are currently in operation at farms in five countries.