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Partnership brings robot solutions to US West Coast

Philadelphia-based Burro, an autonomous mobility company providing solutions for the agriculture industry, announced that it has added California-based American Horticultural Supply (AHS) to its expanding list of distributors worldwide. For 40 years, AHS has been a supplier of horticultural hard goods to wholesale growers, contractors, and government institutions along the U.S. West Coast.

Burro is a plug-and-play autonomous people-scale robot available that increases productivity in conventional production environments. It also features patent-pending Pop Up Autonomy™, which means the technology works immediately out of the box and empowers anyone on a job site to be an operator with very little training. Burro does not require centralized control or installation of burdensome infrastructure. Instead, the robots use computer vision (cameras) and AI to learn and to navigate autonomously from points A to B while carrying loads, as well as mowers and partner technology applications, such as artificial pollinators. Burro is proven to help agricultural clients realize improvements in efficiency by up to 40 percent.

“At AHS, we strive to be the preferred distributor amongst growers by way of partnership, superior customer service, and dedication to provide the highest quality of products and services,” said AHS’ Omead Jafroodi, president. “Aligning with Burro allows us to offer leading-edge robotic solutions to our greenhouse and nursery clients so they may leverage automation to improve their operational outcomes. It’s one more way we can add value.”

“We are thrilled to partner with AHS on the sales and support of Burro products,” said Don Black, vice president of growth, Burro. “AHS has developed a highly respected reputation in the horticulture industry, and we are proud to provide their clients with our collaborative, force-multiplying robots that translate to labor savings and greater productivity. One key feature in development now for nurseries and greenhouses is our ability to tow very heavy trailers. Called the Advanced Towing Pack, this option will enable a towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs., with added balance weights and stability to ensure safety.”

Burro’s Advanced Towing Pack will also feature enhanced LiDAR-based computer vision to ensure Burro’s ability to safely stop while towing very heavy trailers. This pack has three times the battery capacity to ensure operational reliability.

Two significant operational challenges facing the horticulture industry today are an unprecedented shortage of laborers and reliance on conveyor belts, which help to move plants from one site to another or to perform small-batch work. Conveyor belts are heavy, cumbersome and can pose an injury risk to workers during set-up and break-down. Burro mitigates labor shortages by enabling force multiplication of workers and taking on the burden of carrying and towing heavy loads while also boosting profitability. Using Burros instead of conveyor systems increases plant movement by 28 percent. Several Burros working together are proven to move an average of 17 plants per minute versus just 13.3 per conveyor belt. Further, Burros won’t pinch fingers or cause back injuries like conveyor systems can, and they won’t block nursery access points with bulky infrastructure.

Burro is one of only a few autonomous robotic solutions available for this purpose. In addition to recently achieving the milestone of having traveled almost 60,000 autonomous miles, the company also has hundreds of robots actively deployed around the world in support of farms, greenhouses, and nurseries.

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