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AI Systems: Robotics & Automation

Agriculture is the largest sector in Canada with a strong focus on horticulture. To get an impression of Dutch agricultural innovations in British Columbia, the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Vancouver and the Agricultural Team of the Dutch Embassy spoke with several entrepreneurs.

In this 10-part blog series we will be highlighting one advanced innovative agtech company in B.C. every week, focussing on its strong connections to the Netherlands.

Part 7 (7/10): AI Systems

Founded by robotics entrepreneur Farhang Bidram and managing consultant engineer Robert Vahedi, AIS provides autonomous robotic solutions for agriculture and forestry. “When we started our company, both my business partner and I had recently moved to Canada’s West Coast”, says Vahedi. “We assessed our new environment and took note of the significant presence of forestry and agriculture industries.” Focusing on automation that would eliminate labour shortages for repetitive and injury prone tasks in these fields was a logical next step.

Robert Vahedi
©AI Systems Inc

A robot got the job

The duo developed BigTop; an autonomous spacer robot on wheels with a flat surface and long arms for picking up objects. With a specific purpose to move and space plant pots in (greenhouse) nurseries, BigTop took five years to complete and was developed and manufactured in-house. Vahedi: “Once completed, we applied for a vacant nursery labourer position as BigTop, and our robot got the job immediately.”

Expansion to artificial intelligence

AIS is working on other solutions that are complimentary to what humans are doing in the workspace. Vahedi: “There are concerning labour shortages in the agriculture industry and our robots can help fill this gap. The type of robots we make are collaborative. They interact with humans by providing operations data and doing physically demanding labour.” Having expanded to artificial intelligence solutions for the blueberry industry, Vahedi and Bidram are currently working on robotics solutions for forestry and agriculture.

Link with the Netherlands

  • Dutch expat
    Robert Vahedi is co-founder of AIS and a Dutch expat with Iranian roots.
  • Dutch partnerships
    AIS is engaged with several Dutch companies to establish European distribution and first customers for its products.

More on Dutch-Canadian collaboration in B.C.?

In the brochure that you can download below, you will find a number of examples of innovative companies in British Columbia, with strong connections to the Netherlands. We hope to see many more of these strong collaborations and are keen to support more innovators.

If you are interested to learn more, please connect with the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vancouver at van-ez@minbuza.nl or contact the Economic Affairs teams in Ottawa and Toronto.