Osaka — Kubota Corp. announced that it has invested several hundred million yen in a U.S. startup developing automated apple-picking robots.

Through the investment in California-based Abundant Robotics, Kubota hopes to promote automation of harvesting operations to save farmers work.

The U.S. company, established in 2016, offers harvesting services besides development of automated apple-picking robots.

The Japanese machinery maker, based in Osaka, western Japan, set up innovation centers last year to enhance cooperation with partners.

In August last year, the company invested in a U.S. startup developing strawberry-picking robots.