Robotic weeder uses laser to kill weeds at a rate of 100,000 per hour.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com
It’s not quite Star Wars, but lasers in a farmer’s field zapping weeds—that’s here, right now.
The Autonomous Weeder, designed by Carbon Robotics of Seattle, Washington, uses robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and laser technology to safely and effectively drive through crop fields to identify, target and eliminate weeds.
At about 9,500 lbs (~4,309 kg), this big boy uses high-power lasers to zap weeds using thermal energy—and does so without disturbing or damaging the soil.
Travelling at a blistering 5-mph (8-kph), the weeder is capable of clearing some 100,000 unwanted weeds in an hour, working over 15-20 acres a day. It uses about 22 gallons (100 litres) of diesel fuel over a 20 hour span, so it’s fuel efficient, too, despite its size.
The automated robots allow farmers to use less herbicides and reduce labor to remove unwanted plants while improving the reliability and predictability of costs, crop yield and more.
According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) data, chemicals, fertilizers and seeds make up roughly 28 percent of a farmer’s total spending on average, with labour adding on an additional 13.8 percent.
Carbon Robotics said its laser weeder can save up to 80 percent of the expenses, while helping ease labour issues that have arisen during the current pandemic.
With over 250 herbicide-resistant plant species across 71 countries, Carbon Robotics has seen many farms shoot for the laser weeder, resulting in a complete sell-out of its 2021 and 2022 models—but it has begun accepting orders for 2023.
For company information, visit https://carbonrobotics.com/.