>> A perfect head of fresh organic lettuce, sold at the same price as one grown in the field with pesticide. That's the goal of the founders of Iron Ox, and it's one they think is possible, thanks to its robots.>> I'm Reuters Jane Lanhee Lee in San Francisco, and a growing shortage of farm labor not just here in California but in many places around the world, as younger workers avoid the back-breaking field work.
It's bringing farm owners and robot makers together to find a solution and some of them are hoping to debut soon.>> Iron Ox CEO Brandon Alexander gave up his job as a Google engineer and is now getting into farming just like his grandfather before him and he's using his tech skills to boost production.
>> Our mission statement is that just build a core robot or just develop a great machine learning. It's to make high quality, fresh produce more accessible to everyone. And we believe the way to do is leverage advanced robotics, leverage things like AI, but do in such a way that we can actually supply better produce than they have access to today.
>> But, unlike crops like wheat, corn and soy that have been cultivated using GPS guided sprayers and automatic combine machines, fresh produce is much more challenging. This machine by Agrobot can only pick berries grown in a structured way, although the next iteration promises to be one that can handle more chaos in the fields.
Abundant Robotics says it's big challenge is to get the robot to pick the apples without bruising them and avoid damaging the trees. It's aiming to be ready for commercial use next year. And Iron Ox Chief Technology Officer, Jon Binney believes that where his robots will out-farm humans is not out in the fields, but in a greenhouse.
>> In a greenhouse, we have the advantage that it's a somewhat structured environment, we are building the greenhouse and that means we can design it to be the perfect place for the robot to work.>> Iron Ox is looking to setup greenhouses across America starting with the San Francisco Bay area and will focus on fast growing crops like lettuce, basil and any other greens that can go from seed to the table in six weeks