Our mission at Augean Robotics is to solve the labor problem facing farmers by making robots like Wall-E a reality. To do this, we are starting first with a collaborative robotic platform called Burro, that helps people work more productively today, while building the base for more expansive autonomy where it is needed most. We believe this is the path towards a future where farming is fully autonomous.
Our team includes robotic startup veterans with deep experience in computer vision, robotics, and deep learning, as well as entrepreneurs with direct experience selling and marketing high tech farm/construction machinery with some of the world’s largest companies. We get up every day excited to build the future, where robots do all tedious tasks outdoors.
Charlie grew up on a fruit, vegetable, and livestock farm. This experience lead him to believe that all tedious farm labor should be automated, and simultaneously to understand the many challenges that robots face in agriculture. He founded Augean Robotics after gaining experience with Case New Holland, John Deere’s largest competitor, where he reported to the head of the North American operating unit and worked on special projects across sales, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, and autonomy M&A. He received a BA from Amherst College, and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Terry leads the development of a unified technical vision, architecture, and autonomy roadmap with Augean Robotics. Prior to Augean, Terry worked as a robotic software developer with COSY, and as a design engineer/project manager with a large manufacturer supplying African railroads. Terry received his PhD from University of Oxford’s Robotic Institute where his research focused on computer-vision-based autonomous navigation and mapping, and a BSc in Electro-Mechanical Engineering from University of Capetown. He grew up in South Africa where he gained a love for machinery and robotics.
Vibhor builds Burros and his software controls them. He develops many of the computer-vision approaches to localization and autonomy with Augean Robotics. Prior to Augean, Vibhor worked as a researcher at Lehigh’s Vader Labs where he specialized in accurate infrastructure free outdoor localization, and as a software engineer at Samsung. He received a Masters in Electrical/Electronics Engineering from Lehigh University, and a bachelors degree in Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering from Manav Rachna International University in Faridabad, India.
Stephen designs and builds the mechanical components of Burro. Prior to working at Augean, Stephen was a Lead Structural Engineer at SpaceX for ten years, where he worked on the mechanical components of the Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon Spacecraft. Stephen also worked at Space Systems Loral, where he contributed to the development of satellite structures. He received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and minor in Engineering Management from Cornell University.
Zach develops our strategy and focuses on scaling Burro’s operations. Before joining Augean Robotics, Zach launched and managed operations across the world in the transportation industry. He got his first exposure to autonomy at Cruise and is excited to use the technology in farming. Zach received a Master of Science and Executive Engineering from Mines ParisTech and an MBA from Wharton Business School.
Chao designs and develops the electrical and embedded systems of Burro. Prior to working at Augean, Chao obtained his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D. Minor in Electrical Engineering at North Carolina State University where his research focused on developing wireless sensor systems and computer vision based systems for structural health monitoring. Chao also worked as a research assistant in the Robotics and Automation Laboratory at Tsinghua University in China where he developed a high-speed wafer transfer robotic system. Chao received his bachelor’s degree in Automation Engineering from Beijing Institute of Technology, China.
Yilun designs and builds the perception systems of Burro where he enables Burro to “see” the surroundings with deep learning and classical machine learning methods. Prior to working with Augean, Yilun developerd a deep learning-based image-LIDAR fusion framework applied to aerial/ground autonomous systems at the Kumar Lab at University of Pennsylvania. In addition, Yilun’s experience includes developing a multi-view human pose estimation system at Gemini-Huntley Robotics Research Lab at University of Minnesota. He received his Master’s degree at University of Pennsylvania, and his Bachelor’s degree at Northwestern Polytechnical University, China.
Shreshtha is a robotic software engineer at Burro. She builds motion planning and perception algorithms that leverage computer vision and AI to enable Burros to better understand, travel through, and manipulate their environment. Prior to joining Burro, she developed pick and place applications using robot manipulators and perception features for autonomous vehicles for Wipro Limited, and held engineering roles with Refraction AI and Honda. She received her Masters Degree in Robotics from University of Michigan, and her BE in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from R.V. College of Engineering in Bangalore. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, playing basket ball and singing with her guitar.
Abhilesh develops Burro’s localization layer – enabling burros to know where they are using primarily vision-based algorithms . Prior to joining Augean, Abhilesh was part of the DARPA-Subterranian Challenge’s Planning and Navigation team for Colorado School of mines. He also worked on multi-camera system calibration and obstacle avoidance at the M3Robotics Lab at Colorado School of mines. He received his master’s degree with focus in Robotics from Colorado School of Mines and a Bachelor’s degree at Manipal University Jaipur, India.
Yao-Chung builds the infrastructure that enables us to scale fleets of our robots. Prior to working at Augean, he conducted research on computer vision and robotics topics in Electrical and Computer Engineering Information Processing Lab at University Washington. He also developed several applications including a webRTC application during Google Hackathon 2020. Yao-Chung received his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at University of Washington and Bachelor’s degree from National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan.
Chris leads our Sales and Support efforts in California. He grew up on his family farm in the San Joaquin Valley, where he experienced from an early age the challenges and opportunities around using and implementing new technologies on farm. He joined our team after working for Brandt Farms, a leading grower, packer, and shipper of table grapes, stone fruit, citrus, and persimmons in and around Reedley, CA. At Brandt, he managed ranch operations at various levels, and worked implementing various early Ag technologies such as multi-spectral imaging, soil mapping, and variable rate fertility applications. From this, he has a real world understanding of technology that does what it is sold as doing, and works reliably in the field. Chris and his Wife Kasey have three kids (who love robots), and are heavily invested in their community.
Josue grew up in Fresno, California, the son of extremely hardworking Mexican immigrant parents. Through his parents’ determination to provide their family with better opportunities Josue developed a strong interest in technology and education. This led him to obtain a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from UC Davis in 2015, and to work in education, teaching chemistry at Fresno High School. He continued working in education while simultaneously obtaining his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Fresno State in 2019. Today, Josue works at the intersection of education and technology, teaching crews how to use Burros and problem solving any issues such that customers have an exceptional experience.
Noe Toribio grew up in Fresno, California where he was immersed in robotics and agriculture as he participated in robotics competitions in high school and worked in the local industry including spending time working in farm fields. He attended California State University, Fresno where he got his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology as he simultaneously worked on projects at the intersection of robotics and agriculture.
Jorge grew up in Bakersfield, California, to parents who emigrated from Mexico to work in the agriculture fields. In high school his parents instilled in him the meaning of hard work, and the value of higher education, by bringing him to work in the fields picking grapes, blueberries, and cherries throughout Kern County. This value for work, and drive for education, combined with this interest in, and curiosity with electronics/technology, led him to pursue and obtain a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from CSU-Bakersfield in 2021. While in school, he simultaneously worked as an AT&T Retail Sales Consultant and as a Student Assistant in Data Research Science at CSU-Bakersfield.
Kirk Haney is the Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Radicle Growth. Under Kirk’s leadership, Radicle Growth has become a market leader in early-stage ag and foodtech investing and company building and has secured top-tier financial and corporate investors. A serial entrepreneur with three exits, Kirk has raised over $200M in venture capital, private equity and corporate capital and has had three successful exits. He’s worked in technology, venture capital and ag & food his entire career and has a clear understanding of what early-stage companies need to be successful. Kirk is a proud father and is passionate about food, health and sustainability.
Adam Plotkin is a Partner at ff Venture Capital. In this capacity he provides targeted strategic counsel to a range of ffVC investments, with a focus on technological innovation in logistics and manufacturing, insurance, e-commerce, financial services and media. Adam has experience serving on the boards of CardFlight, Drop Loyalty, Four Mine and Sure, to name a few. Adam holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the Harvard Business School. He also holds Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Applied Sciences, and Bachelor of Science in Economics degrees, cum laude with distinction from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Wharton School, at the University of Pennsylvania, as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and a Joseph Wharton Scholar.
Camillo J. Taylor
CJ is a professor at University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP lab, which he joined in 1997. His research interests focus on computer vision and robotics. His current research include work on self-localizing embedded smart camera systems and their applications to problems such as automated surveying systems, ad-hoc surveillance systems, three-dimensional reconstruction and mobile robot localization. He received his A.B. degree in Electrical Computer and Systems Engineering from Harvard College in 1988 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University in 1990 and 1994 respectively.
Simo has a passion for all things technical, and has spent time at McKinsey, and Oracle. He is currently a partner at the Synetro Group where he invests in companies and provides operational support to help them succeed. He received an MBA from Harvard and has two degrees in EE/Computer Science from MIT.
John is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Lehigh University where he heads up the VADER Laboratory. His research focus is field and service robotics in unstructured, outdoor environments. John received his PhD from the GRASP Laboratory at UPenn, and has 20 years of experience in the robotics field. He has also been involved in local robotics startups, including serving as CTO of Love Park Robotics which was acquired by industrial sensor company IFM earlier this year.
Our Industry Partners
To ensure that our technology solves problems that are widespread across industry, and to maximize the diversity of the training data within our artificial intelligence, we work closely with two leading organizations – the California Table Grape Commission and Western Growers Association. These organizations, which represent their industries and work to foster adoption of labor-saving technology, have helped us to pilot and refine our autonomy towards industry labor-saving needs.