Ripe for investment

Robotics on a roll: Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum (centre) with Ripe Robotics’ Michael Woods, Hunter Jay, Leopold Lucas and Tobin Smit in front of the autonomous fruit harvesting robot. A Federal Government grant will help the company commercialise the technology. Photo by Daneka Hill

Ardmona company Ripe Robotics has received more than $570,000 of federal funding to help accelerate its push towards autonomous fruit picking and data-driven technology.

Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum said the funding via the Federal Government’s Accelerating Commercialisation program would be matched by Ripe Robotics and be used to fast-track the company’s growth and move into international markets.

“Ripe Robotics has developed an autonomous fruit harvesting robot for the apple, orange and stone fruit industries,” Mr Drum said.

“This machine will increase food security, lower fruit production costs and increase Australian fruit export competitiveness.

“The funding will help Ripe Robotics commercialise this machine and achieve commercial scale autonomous harvesting, which will lead to huge efficiency gains on Australian orchards.

“I’m very proud that this ground-breaking technology is being developed right here in the Goulburn Valley and I congratulate the innovative team at Ripe Robotics.”

Ripe Robotics co-founder Leopold Lucas described the funding as a “game-changer” that would help the company become a leader in the field.

“We are very appreciative of the investment the government has made in advancing innovative deep technology in Australia and are sure this will pay dividends in the form of more meaningful jobs in the future and a sustainable industry,” Mr Lucas said.

“Australian farmers have long been distinguished by their inventiveness, with scarce resources, such as water, and harsh conditions they need to do things differently in order to remain relevant and competitive.

“Fruit growers are especially desperate for alternatives to labour, which is one of the biggest issues they face every year.

“Field robotics will unlock many other opportunities for other applications that make better use of data to improve the way we grow and harvest fruit.

“The farm of the future will be very different from the farms we know today.”

Information on how to apply for an Accelerating Commercialisation grant is available at

Read more about Ripe Robotics in next week’s Country News.