Wootzano, the Sedgefield-based robotics pioneer, has launched an operation in the United States, with its Avarai robotic system leading the way.

With this US expansion, Wootzano - which won New Business of the Year at the inaugural BUSINESSiQ Awartds - aims to help resolve the struggling labour force in fresh produce packing sheds, and bring employment opportunities in the technology sector.

The cutting-edge technology uses powerful AI and computer vision technologies that allow the robots to learn and improve over time. Avarai can carefully handle perishable fresh produce, ensuring minimal food loss due to embedded electronic skin.

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"We are thrilled to announce our expansion into the US.” Dr Atif Syed, CEO and Founder of Wootzano said.

“Our team is dedicated to delivering exceptional customer experiences and driving growth in this dynamic market. Together with our US partner, we look forward to making a positive impact and delivering a new level of sustainability and quality in the fresh produce industry.”

The partnership is the combined efforts of many organisations, including the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation and The British Consulate General – San Francisco.

Lee Ann Eager, President and CEO of the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation had this to say: “As the top producing agricultural county in the US, our region is a magnet for innovative commercial solutions. We represent 1% of US farmland yet produce a quarter of the nation’s food supply. We are constantly searching for cutting-edge technologies to meet industry demands and provide solutions to upskill labor and enhance productivity.

The Northern Echo: Wootzano's Avarai technologyWootzano's Avarai technology (Image: Press release)

"Wootzano’s technology is a perfect fit to address our regional needs. We have been working tirelessly with Dr Syed and his team to provide a comprehensive introduction to the US in terms of sites, partners, and institutions. We look forward to continuing to support Wootzano as their technology transforms the packing industry.”

Joe White, the British Consul General in San Francisco and Tech Envoy to the US said, “We’ve been delighted to support Wootzano in their expansion to the US. We are thrilled to see British technology driving innovation in the US. Novel agricultural technology like Wootzano’s fully integrated robotic packing system, Avarai, is extremely important in strengthening resilience, accelerating sustainable growth, and promoting food security.”

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"The US is the UK’s largest single trading partner, with total trade worth more than £279 billion last year” added Lord Offord, the Minister for Exports.

“It is excellent news that Wootzano is expanding into the US, building on our strong trading relationship by exporting their innovative products, helping to create jobs, pay higher wages and grow our economy.”