Robotics

A drone flying above a rice terrace. / Photo by: Nuttawut Uttamaharad via 123RF

 

Weeds are a major problem in the agricultural industry and a huge pain to small-sized farm owners. But with today's innovation in robotics, weeds will be an easy problem to solve soon. A company in Switzerland called Ecorobotix developed an AI-powered robot that destroys weeds in a half a day without the need of an operator.

The weed-killing robot works for 12 hours per day and is powered by solar energy. Unlike most machines that spray herbicide, the robot sprays the farms with precision to eliminate weeds which reduces the herbicide exposure of the areas by up to 20 times. Also, the high-tech machine has a compact and lightweight design to minimize soil compaction when in use.

For control, the users must use a smartphone, install a specialized application, and connect it to the robot via wireless connectivity such as WiFi or mobile data. Through the app, the farmer can then activate the weed-killing machine in the field and let it perform its tasks for the next 12 hours.

However, the device must not be used in farms that are excessively wet or in soils that are thick and sticky, and in areas with maximum sustained winds of no more than 60 kilometers per hour to avoid technical issues.

For precision strikes, the machine utilizes its GPS navigation system and camera to identify the weeds. Once it has detected the undesirable plant, it deposits a tiny dose of herbicide to control the weeds and lessen the chance of affecting the crops. The autonomous robot has an effectiveness score of 95 percent. The robot supports two tanks with 15 liters each for one day of operation.

“We recommend using the machine after an initial standard application of herbicide, in order to replace subsequent applications and thus save an important amount of herbicide,” Ecorobotix posted in their website.