Zoox acqui-hires group from robotic strawberry-picking startup, Strio.AI – TechCrunch

Amazon-owned robotaxi agency Zoox this week introduced that it has acquired Strio.AI. The Boston-based robotics startup was based in 2020 by MIT alumns to convey autonomous choosing and pruning to strawberry crops. It acquired up and operating shortly in the course of the pandemic, bringing its first prototype system to farms in California and Florida inside about six months.

The acquisition is extra of an acqui-hire, actually. Strio co-founder and CEO Ruijie He joins Zoox as director of Notion, whereas 4 of its senior engineers might be built-in into the group. The transfer additionally finds the Bay Space-based Zoox opening its first East Coast R&D website with the Strio group.

“Throughout our conversations with RJ and the opposite members of the Strio.AI group, we had been regularly impressed by their technical experience, entrepreneurial spirit, and method to growing state-of-the-art notion programs,” Zoox mentioned in a weblog publish. “We’re thrilled to welcome them aboard as we proceed advancing our autonomous expertise.”

The acquisition implies that Strio might be winding down its ag tech work, as an alternative integrating their work in issues like notion into Zoox’s broader robotaxi plans. The transfer comes just a few weeks after Bowery Farming acquired Traptic’s strawberry-picking robots for integration into its indoor vertical farms. Just like the Zoox transfer, Bowery’s acquisition successfully took Traptic’s robots out of the sector.

Standard knowledge holds that there’s numerous alternative for autonomous robotics in ag tech, however most of the essential gamers within the class have had issue making it too far down that highway. Considerable’s apple-picking robots are one other key instance. Although for the robotics class usually, acquisition is commonly a stable consequence, notably for a younger firm like Strio.

For Zoox, in the meantime, it means entry to extra expertise and a presence within the robotics analysis hub of Boston.

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