Oppy, a Vancouver, B.C.-based grower, marketer and distributor of fresh produce, has made its first investment in technology, partnering with Bloomfield Robotics a year after trialing the company’s tech in its California grape vineyards.
How does the technology work? Bloomfield Robotics’ proprietary Flash camera is attached to a moving vehicle, such as an all-terrain vehicle or tractor, and as it moves through the orchard, takes pixel-by-pixel data. That data is then processed through its deep-learning artificial intelligence to forecast and manage yield down to the cluster level, detecting and measuring morphologic and phenotypic information to inform decisions and enhance the performance and health of every plant, the company said in a news release.
Currently underway in their second season and working toward commercialization, the two companies are looking toward their next move as strategic partners, said the release.
“Grapes are just the beginning,” Garland Perkins, who leads innovative efforts at Oppy as senior manager of innovation and sustainability, said. “We’re confident that we’ll roll this tech out into other categories in the near future — and with Oppy’s diverse portfolio, we have a wide array of applications to trial.”
While its forecasting capabilities provide significantly more data than in-field scouting, according to Perkins, the AI also helps strategically guide the grower’s commercial crop decisions with precise accuracy.
“We’re honored and excited to be working so closely with Oppy in an effort to further digitalize their crops,” Bloomfield Robotics CEO Mark DeSantis said. “Our team looks forward to supporting Oppy, a company that has grown and delivered fruits and vegetables from around the world for nearly 165 years.”
With over 50 million boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables grown on every continent moving through its supply chain annually, Oppy offers a range of items year-round, including avocados, berries, apples and oranges, in addition to seasonal specialties.
“This valuable and strategic investment in our supply chain underlines our dedication to this technology,” Perkins said of the collaboration.