Bowery Farming, the biggest vertical farming firm in the United States, has acquired Traptic, a startup that harvests fruit, vines, and other fragile crops using computer vision, robotic arms, and artificial intelligence (AI), such as strawberries and tomatoes. Traptic technology will speed the commercialization of fruiting and vine crops by complementing Bowery's world-class robotics technology currently deployed throughout its network. Bowery will be the first indoor agriculture enterprise to employ Traptic technology.
Traptic harvests delicate fruit and vine crops by combining 3D cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) with robotic arms equipped with a patented gripper. First, the vision technology makes millimeter-accurate distinctions between ripe and unripe fruit by utilizing 3D cameras and neural networks. After that, the AI determines how the robotic arms should move to harvest the ripe crops from their plants. Traptic's technology runs 24 hours a day, reduces food waste by up to 20%, and increases the amount of blemish-free, high-quality produce that can be grown, which means more money for the company.
"Traptic is the perfect complement to Bowery's industry-leading technological advances, The dexterity and precision of Traptic's robotic arm movement engineered by 3D localization and pathing is very exciting. By joining forces with Traptic, Bowery's network of smart indoor farms will achieve another level of technological sophistication and maturity."
-Injong Rhee, CTO of Bowery Farming
Traptic's acquisition coincides with the beginning of Bowery's commercial launch of Strawberries this spring. Traptic's technology will be critical in expanding Bowery's Strawberries and other fruiting and vine crops across the United States and eventually the globe. Traptic has developed new methods of collecting strawberries. These methods can also be used for pollination and pruning and harvesting other crops like tomato plants and basil.
Traptic's technology will seamlessly integrate into the Bowery's network of farms powered by its proprietary BoweryOS, which orchestrates and automates the entirety of its operations through the use of software, hardware, sensors, computer vision systems, machine learning models, and robotics. The company's patented farm design and technology, which have been a priority since its foundation, are at the heart of its efficient and scalable business strategy. Bowery's farming operations will be better when this technology is added to the network. As a result, Bowery's production and efficiency will also be better, and the Modern Farmer experience.
As part of the purchase, Traptic's team of robotics, computer vision, and engineering professionals will join Bowery to speed the adoption of advanced 3D vision and robotics across its network. Lewis Anderson, Traptic's CEO, will manage Bowery's Robotic Solutions team and report to Justin Frankert, Bowery's VP of Robotics and Automation.
"I am thrilled to join forces with Bowery, the world-class leader in smart indoor farming, on their mission to democratize access to local, more sustainable, and pesticide-free produce, The technology we built to operate in harsh outdoor farm environments will work even better indoors, which will translate into even higher quality produce like strawberries, other fruiting and vine crops, and so much more."
-Lewis Anderson, CEO, and Co-Founder of Traptic.
Strawberries are Bowery's newest innovation, a vertical farming firm dedicated to bright taste and traceability. Bowery's pesticide-free Protected Produce collection includes Farmer's Selection Next-Generation Greens (including Mustard Frills and Baby Rabe), Crispy Leaf, a velvety and peppery Arugula with a kick, and smooth and crisp Baby Butter Lettuce. Bowery, distributed in over 800 locations in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast areas, including Whole Foods Market, Giant Food, Stop & Shop, and Walmart, quadrupled its sales in 2021 and concluded its Series C equity round. Bowery received a $150 million credit line backed by KKR, a renowned global investment group earlier this year. In addition, the company is now building three more commercial farms in Atlanta, Georgia, Dallas, Texas, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, as well as two more in the Atlanta and Dallas metropolitan areas.