Soft Robotics Inc. today announced the launch of SoftAI Solutions, an offering it said incorporates proprietary 3D vision, AI software, and “industry-proven soft grasping” to address the most pressing problem plaguing the food industry – the inability to meaningfully automate operations.

According to the company, SoftAI augments traditional industrial robots with “true hand-eye coordination unlocking their use in most labour dependent processes.”

“The food industry is critically dependent on labour to meet its production goals,” said Mark Chiappetta, chief operating officer at Soft Robotics.

“But challenges with workforce availability and productivity, tightening food safety regulations, and global health crises have illuminated the need to break this dependency.”

Company CEO Jeff Beck added that robots have been widely adopted across an array of industries resulting in safer working environments, consistently higher quality products and improved economics for operators.

"However, robotics adoption in food production operations has been very limited due to technological and sanitation challenges.” 

According to a release from the company issued in June, organizations such as Tyson Foods, are “betting on adoption of robotic automation to help improve safety and increase production in their facilities to meet the demand for high quality, safe and nutritious protein products. Tyson Foods is a leading producer of chicken, beef, and pork, and has invested about US$500 million in new technology and automation in the last three years.” 

Soft Robotics is backed by venture capital firms and strategic investors that include ABB Technology Ventures, Calibrate Ventures, Hyperplane Venture Capital, Material Impact, Scale Venture Partners, FANUC, Honeywell Ventures, Tekfen Ventures, Tyson Ventures and Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.