Apr 27, 2022 17:54 JST

Source: NEC Corporation

NEC X Announces Fifth AI Start-up to Graduate from its Corporate Accelerator Program
Start-up, Beagle Technology, addresses agricultural labor shortage and cost issues with new automated pruning technology for the wine industry

TOKYO and PALO ALTO, Calif. , Apr 27, 2022 - (JCN Newswire) - NEC Corporation, a leader in IT and network technologies, and NEC X, the innovation accelerator for NEC's emerging technologies, announced today that Beagle Technology is the fifth start-up to graduate from the NEC X Corporate Accelerator Program (CAP).


Beagle Technology has developed unique computer vision and robot control technologies, supported by NEC technology researchers, to automate pruning and shoot thinning of wine grapevines. The machine detects the height and depth of vines using computer vision. It then adjusts, locates clippers, and cuts vines at precise locations. This patent-pending solution replaces manual operation, provides improved accuracy and speed, and reduces cost by about 25% for pruning and 70% for shoot thinning.

"Beagle Technology implemented an AI solution in an effort to address the decreasing labor force in the agriculture industry," said Shige Ihara, CEO of NEC X. "They put their solution to use in real-life scenarios by testing 400 acres for pruning with several paying clients they obtained during the customer validation phase of NEC X CAP. In addition, they started a paid shoot thinning trial this year involving 250 acres with one of the top Washington-based commercial growers. We are very impressed with their success and excited to see Beagle Technology spin out of NEC X and move on to the next phase of their growth."

"We have experienced a 25% reduction in farm labor since 2000 in the USA," said Yang Fang, CEO, and Co-founder of Beagle Technology. "Growers are desperate for solutions to sustain operation with the scarcity of labor supply and rising cost. At the beginning of 2021, I started working with the NEC X program director and researchers to study how to solve this problem. I am excited that we made a lot of progress in the past year. We integrated AI and robotics software with traditional equipment to mechanize manual operations, resulting in far superior accuracy and consistency. Today we are working with five wine grape growers, including The Wine Group and Foley Family Farm, and estimate to scale up to thousands of acres in the next season."

In addition to Beagle Technology, NEC X accelerates stealth-mode start-ups, including a video advertisement platform, a drone rescue service, insole sensors for medical applications and a group mental resilience service, all aiming to raise funds later this year. Those interested in participating or learning more about the NEC X CAP as entrepreneurs, partners, or investors can visit https://nec-x.com or email contact-us@nec-x.com.

About NEC Corporation

NEC Corporation has established itself as a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies while promoting the brand statement of "Orchestrating a brighter world." NEC enables businesses and communities to adapt to rapid changes in both society and the market as it provides for the social values of safety, security, fairness and efficiency to promote a more sustainable world where everyone can reach their full potential. For more information, visit NEC at https://www.nec.com.

About NEC X

NEC X, Inc. builds on the strength of NEC's technologies to accelerate the development of innovative products and services. NEC X provides its Corporate Accelerator Program to entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs) to fast-track technologies and business ideas brought by EIRs or from inside NEC. NEC X has won industry-leading awards such as "Best in Biz" and "BIG Innovation." The company is centrally located in Silicon Valley for access to its entrepreneurial ecosystem and strong high technology market. Learn more at https://nec-x.com or by emailing contact-us@nec-x.com.

About Beagle Technology

Beagle Technology integrates AI and robotic control software with traditional farming equipment. Its software allows the equipment to automatically adjust its operation based on crop structure and avoid obstacles. It makes traditional machinery capable of replacing manual labor operations and helps to cut 90% of the labor required today. Learn more at https://www.beagle-tech.com/ or contact yfang@beagle-tech.com for more information.


Sectors: Agritech, Artificial Intel [AI]

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