A Bethlehem-based robotics and automation company has taken out a top international award.

Robotics Plus, a company that uses technology to increase productivity in the primary industries won an Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum Trans-Tasman Innovation and Growth Award last night.

The awards were presented by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a reception in Auckland.

Robotics Plus was founded in 2013 by Steve Saunders and Dr Alistair Scarfe.


The team took away more than $20,000 in prize money and an invitation to two funded winners' summits to be held in 2020.

The company's efforts focus on automation, vision, robotics and AI, to solve the growing challenges in the primary industry, such as labour shortages, sustainability, pollination gaps and yield security.

Robotics Plus chairman and founder Steve Saunders said the award was a validation of the hard work of a lot of people over a number of years.

Robotics Plus chief executive Dr Matt Glenn said the company was experiencing strong growth on the back of increasing demand for its world-first platform technologies.

"We've been able to achieve so much due to our passionate founders, innovative culture, diverse and entrepreneurial team, and collaboration with fantastic partners who share our vision to grow into a truly global business that will transform a number of industries."

Robotics Plus launched its award-winning robotic Āporo apple packers commercially in 2018.

The technology, which identifies and safely places up to 120 apples per minute in display trays, has been picked up worldwide.

Robotics Plus has a range of technologies under development to address major issues in a range of industries, including the horticulture industry which is facing labour shortages and increasing consumer demand.


These include an autonomous agricultural vehicle, robotic pollinator, robotic harvesters, crop estimator, and more.