Weeds compete for nutrients in soil, water, space, and sunlight with crops that farmers grow to help feed people. Now, a third-generation weeding robot, armed with lasers and powered by AI, offers the latest device that saves labor, while eliminating the need for chemical herbicides.
Rolling through a row of crops, a battery of twelve cameras scans the soil, identifies weeds through machine learning, and kills them with a CO2 laser. CO2 lasers use reactions between nitrogen, helium, carbon, and oxygen to generate powerful rays of light that are concentrated through mirrors within the laser.
The supercomputer on board the robot ensures pinpoint precision with its laser to avoid accidental crop cuttings.
“This is one of the most innovative and valuable technologies that I have seen as a farmer,” said James Johnson of Carzalia Farm at a statement, who has used Carbon Robotics technology on his farm.
“I hope that robots will go mainstream because of the effectiveness with which they tackle some of the most critical problems in agriculture, including excessive use of chemicals, process efficiency and labor. The sky is the limit.”
If a farmer wants to avoid the use of chemical herbicides, they have flooded almost every corner of our food and water supply chains with a probable carcinogen In the form of glyphosate, they must find enough unskilled workers to pull weeds manually, a difficult task in the already tight market for agricultural labor.
Solving both problems, it’s no wonder the Autonomous Weeder’s 2021 model has already sold out, even considering its price tag, which was quoted in “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
In trying to make the device more accessible, leasing options are available from the company as they have already made the 2022 models available for pre-order.
The robot’s weed removal method is certified organic and in line with regenerative farming practices. Profitable weed control is the biggest barrier to entry with organic farming, and farmers looking to make the switch finally have a seriously scalable alternative to help them get their vegetables to the people.
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