The robotic farm of the future isn’t what you’d expect

<em>Meet Angus, Iron Ox’s robot porter, which is designed to move pallets of plants around their indoor farm. </em>

When we think about automation, we often imagine robots just doing the work of humans. Our mental image is of an android in overalls, clocking in with a lunchbox full of oil and bolts, and grabbing a hammer. But that’s not what happens. The reality is much messier, and the process of automation is one of compromise and incremental progress.

Agritech startup Iron Ox is the perfect example of this. After launching in 2015 with the aim of automating the hard work of growing produce, the company unveiled its first “autonomous” production farm last week. In 8,000 square feet of indoor space (roughly 0.2 acres), its engineers use proprietary robot systems to grow roughly 26,000 heads of lettuce, leafy greens, and herbs each year in hydroponic…

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