Carbon Robotics’ new machine does the job far more efficiently while leaving crops healthy and farmers with more money in their pocket.
Robotic innovations are becoming increasingly integrated with agriculture to make our growing systems efficient and sustainable. Recently, a startup called Carbon Robotics unveiled a new autonomous machine that uses computer vision and high-powered lasers to comb through fields and remove up to 100,000 weeds in just an hour. The four-wheeled robot weighs up to 9,500-lb and relies on an onboard supercomputer as well as high-resolution cameras to identify unwanted plants.
When those plants are identified, the robot will aim one of its eight simultaneously operating 150-W lasers at the plants’ meristems to kill it off with thermal energy. Carbon Robotics says its fully autonomous machines can operate around the clock, covering 15 to 20 acres per day.
In addition, its lasers leave the surrounding soil undisturbed to preserve its microbiology and reduce crop loss. The one downside of the machine is that it currently runs on diesel, though that may change in the near future. Whereas the task of taking out weeds has long been a labor-intensive job or one that relied heavily on non-environmentally friendly chemicals, Carbon Robotics’ new machine does the job far more efficiently while leaving crops healthy and farmers with more money in their pocket.