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Perfect pairing: Tesla co-founder, Kubota to develop vineyard robots

Japanese company will design AI machines that check growth of wine grapes

Kubota hopes initially to develop autonomous robots that work in vineyards.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Kubota has enlisted Tesla co-founder and engineer Ian Wright to develop farming robots controlled by artificial intelligence, with the partnership working initially on machines that grow wine grapes.

The Japanese manufacturer of agricultural machinery hopes Wright's connections will attract personnel versed in AI and automated control technologies to a new U.S. research unit. About 50 to 60 engineers, including those from Kubota, will work at the unit's facilities in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Kubota has earmarked tens of millions of dollars for the project over the next few years.

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