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Abundant Robotics, a Hayward, Calif.-based developer of apple-picking robots, has raised $10 million in new VC funding. Google Ventures led the round, and was joined by BayWA, Tellus Partners and return backers Yamaha Motor Co., KPCB Edge and Comet Labs.

Why it matters: This is part of a burgeoning wave of farm automation companies that has a little bit of something for everyone to love or hate. It plays to the "tech advancement doesn't cost macro jobs" crowd, because it's so analogous to the tractor. It causes obvious concerns among those who feel exactly the opposite, as there are not as many urban manufacturing jobs anymore to suck up low-skilled rural labor. And then there are the broader policy issues of domestic immigration (this could cut down on demand at a time when supply is threatened by D.C.) and global food production (where long-term shortfall projections are worrisome).

Bottom line: "Years of research on automating the harvest of apples and similar crops, such as pears, had previously come to naught because of the challenges of getting machines to identify fruit reliably and handle it gently enough, he says. But improvements in computing power, vision algorithms, and robotics have made striking new types of automation possible in a variety of industries, agriculture among them." ― Tom Simonite

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
13 mins ago - Economy & Business

The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Early voting in Austin earlier this month. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.

Wall Street braces for more turbulence ahead of Election Day

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Wall Street is digging in for a potentially rocky period as Election Day gets closer.

Why it matters: Investors are facing a "three-headed monster," Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, tells Axios — a worsening pandemic, an economic stimulus package in limbo, and an imminent election.