Some providers of industrial automation are expanding beyond the factory and warehouse. At the LogiMAT 2022 trade show last month, Continental AG announced that it had started volume production of mobile robots for intralogistics. At the GreenTech horticultural trade show this week in Amsterdam, the company said it has agreed to collaborate with Octiva to develop mobile robots for horticulture applications.
The new autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) will become part of Continental's new agricultural product line. The partners said they intend to develop “an industry-leading, autonomous, and reliable solution that will shape the future of horticulture.”
Octiva was formed from the merger of De Lier, Netherlands-based Priva's leaf-cutting robots for tomato cultivation and Leuven, Belgium-based Octinion's strawberry-picking and greenhouse-disinfection systems.
“Adding Continental's competence in safe and autonomous mobility to our market leading applications will allow us to offer our customers new features and thereby enable additional benefits for them,” stated Tom Coen, CEO of Octiva. “Moreover, it allows us to implement a focus-driven strategy which will lead to a faster market entry.”
Partners to automate greenhouse processes
“With this partnership, we take the next step in our growth strategy for AMRs,” said Pierre Pomper, head of autonomous mobile robots at Continental. “Entering this new market will allow us to further enhance our AMR solutions that we offer to customers globally. We are open to continued cooperation with other strong partners to provide our autonomous platform to diverse markets besides intralogistics and horticulture.”
Octiva said it plans to focus on developing market-specific applications to automate tedious and repetitive work in greenhouses. The company noted that it is difficult to find workers for tasks such as cutting of leaves or monitoring crops.
By joining forces with Continental, Octiva said it will accelerate development and industrialization, creating a reference platform for greenhouse automation.
“Our partnership with Continental, a strong partner and industry leader, allows us to establish a strong product line with the clear objective to become the market leader for autonomous horticulture robot solutions,” said Meiny Prins, CEO of Priva.
Signing the collaboration agreement (from left to right): Pavel Prouza, head of controlling, hydraulic brake systems, Continental; Pierre Pomper, head of AMRs, Continental; Meiny Prins, CEO of Priva; and Tom Coen, CEO of Octiva. Source: Continental
Continental to provide mobile platform
Continental will provide the motion platform that allows these applications to move autonomously and safely within greenhouses. The Hanover, Germany-based automotive supplier said the collaboration is the next step in its growth strategy for AMRs.
“Octiva’s market expertise allows us to enter this substantial growth market and to develop the exactly right platform for this market,” said Andreas Mandl, project lead for Continental.
The partners plan to enter the market with the agricultural AMR in 2024.
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