Saia's Mission

Revolutionizing Agricultural Production

As a spin-off from Wageningen University & Research, globally the highest ranked R&D institution for agriculture tech, Saia has the objective of bringing the revolution of robotics to agriculture, to relieve the human labour under monotonous conditions, to solve the grower’s problems of finding affordable workers and to provide the world a sustainable solution for future food security.

Globally, there is a high pressure on agriculture to automate further. Nobody wants to do the physically harsh labour anymore. Wages are exploding. Although we produce enough calories world-wide to feed 20 billion people today, yields in fresh foods have to keep increasing to feed the world population in a healthy manner.

We strongly believe robotics is the answer.

SAIA's Experience

20 years of research and development in agrobotics

Already in 1999, a harvesting robot for Cucumber was invented at Wageningen. In the following two decades, the group 'Agro Food Robotics' achieved state-of-the-art market-ready technologies which were combined into a sweet-pepper harvesting robot.

Recently, SAIA developed a leaf harvesting robot prototype with the 'agROBOfood' Innovation Hub. Leaf removal is one of the most labour intensive tasks, currently all done by hand and it is considered the most boring job of them all.

movie used with permission from the Sweeper consortium

Previously, the founders of SAIA have worked on a sweet-pepper harvesting robot for 7 years. By working closely together with growers and with technology experts from all over Europe, a prototype was realised that could harvest up to a third of all the peppers in a commercial greenhouse autonomously.

The experience from the market oriented 'SWEEPER' project, formed the foundation of SAIA Agrobotics. The technology reached maturity and SAIA aims to bring the robotics for greenhouses to the market.

The Team

dr. Ruud Barth

Holds a Ph.D. degree (Cum Laude, 2018) from Wageningen University on machine learning based Computer Vision Principles for Harvest Robotics, and holds a MSc degree (Cum Laude) in Artificial Intelligence from the Radboud University Nijmegen, with additional honours track diploma awarded with the maximum grade. He won the University Study price for best thesis. At WageningenUR, his research focussed on computer vision & robotics applied in the domain of agriculture, notably deep-learning techniques. For his work on a Broccoli Harvesting Robot, he won the ‘Young Professional Award’ from the European Machine Vision Association. He was leader of the work package ‘Integration’ within the robotics project 'Pick&Pack'. He has been invited thrice for 3-month research visits to world leading universities Stanford and Harvard and has finalized his PhD at the California Institute of Technology. From 2017 onwards, he has put his dedication to found the company Saia Agrobotics.

Bart van Tuijl

Has a BSc degree (1999) in Mechanical Engineering, with a specialisation in Mechatronics, from the Dutch Fontys Institute of Technology at Eindhoven. Since 1999 he is a technical engineer at Wageningen University and Research in the group of 'Agro Food Robotics'. His specialism is in the domain of end-effector or gripper design for agricultural robotics. Bart has worked on the first cucumber harvesting robot and in the last eight years worked in several EU projects (CROPS, SWEEPER and Trimbot) and also as a work package leader in the FP7 project 'Pick&Pack'. During those projects he has filed multiple patents on the design of end-effectors for horticultural harvesting robots (NL2013066 and  P6075740NL). Parallel to his work, he is in the last stage of his MSc Biosystems Engineering at Wageningen University (2019). Bart co-founded Saia.

Jeoffrey van den Berg

Jeoffrey van den Berg has over 15 year of entrepreneurial experience in the field of high tech disruptive technology and was educated in the field of advanced electronics and innovation management. He excels in translating complex technological subjects into understandable concepts with clear win-win benefits for all parties. He previously founded FlowID, a company where he was responsible for the business strategy that resulted in worldwide implementation of flow chemistry systems in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.

Leonard Feder

Lenny spent 25 years on Wall Street in NY, Tokyo and Singapore working for Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and Standard Chartered Bank.  In his final role, he was the Group Head of Financial Markets for Standard Chartered Bank.  His responsibilities included managing 2,000 traders across 41 countries with responsibility for $400 billion in assets.  During his tenure, Lenny grew Standard Chartered’s trading organization from $1.5 billion in revenue to $5 billion.  Lenny left banking in 2015 and moved to Los Angeles.  He now invests in start-ups, real estate, entertainment, finance, technology and farming.

Bram van Asseldonk

Bram is an expert in Artificial Intelligence and specializes in Computer Vision and Robotics. At SAIA he applies his expertise on the robotics operating system to make sure systems are as robust and scalable as possible. Furthermore, he is in charge of the Image Recognition of the robots by developing and training the next generations Deep Learning frameworks.