Israeli startup MetoMotion is getting ready to roll out the first-ever robotic tomato harvester.

This will be the first application of GRoW, MetoMotion’s multipurpose robotic system for taking over labor-intensive, high-cost tasks in greenhouses.

The tomato-picking robot is one step closer to market after the completion of a $1.5 million investment round led by a major industry player in The Netherlands, said MetoMotion CEO Adi Nir.

“Our Netherlands-based investor’s combined resources and rich knowledge of the greenhouse industry will provide us with an outstanding opportunity to develop our system with the right fit for the market,” Nir added. “We can bring our first product to the market and offer farmers a valuable solution to one of the most urgent issues they face in vegetable production today.”

MetoMotion, a portfolio company of The Trendlines Group in Misgav, uses technology to address increasing labor shortages and mounting labor costs, which can account for up to half of total greenhouse production costs.

Designed for seamless integration with existing greenhouse infrastructure, GRoW incorporates advanced 3D vision system and machine vision algorithms to identify and locate the ripe fruit; multiple, custom-designed, robotic arms; an end-effector for damage-free harvesting; and an onboard boxing system.

GRoW can be adapted to other labor-intensive greenhouse tasks such as pruning, pollination, de-leafing and data collection for cultivation analysis.

“This development will radically change current greenhouse practices and will provide many benefits for growers to grow their businesses further,” the unnamed Dutch strategic investor commented.