Credit: Arugga Credit: Arugga

Pollinating robots to transform greenhouse tomato industry

An Israeli company that has created an autonomous pollinating robot has started its first trials in Australia.

Key points:

  • A pollinating robot designed by an Israeli company is being tested in Australia
  • Australia's $900-million-a-year greenhouse tomato industry currently relies on farmers pollinating by hand
  • The robot uses artificial intelligence to shoot air pulses at tomato flowers, replicating bumblebee buzz pollination

Arugga AI Farming is hoping its technology can transform Australia's greenhouse farming sector, especially greenhouse tomatoes, which are currently pollinated by hand.

Chief executive Iddo Geltner said after successful trials in Israel, the company had targeted Australia because it did not have bumblebees.

"Around the world, pollination in greenhouses is typically performed using commercially produced bumblebee hives, but these bees don't pollinate well in certain conditions, and they're actually banned in Australia," he told ABC Rural.

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By Matt Brann / ABC's Rural Department

Matt has been working for ABC's Rural department for more than a decade and is the host of the Northern Territory Country Hour. You can follow him on Twitter @MattBrannRURAL

(Source:; July 8, 2020;
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