Agricultural robot removes hundreds of thousands of weeds per hour

The six-metre-wide robot can eliminate weeds on the move. Illustration: Carbon Robotics

If we were to define one problem that has always plagued agriculture, it would have to be weed control.

Today, many farmers use pesticides despite the fact that they harm insects and seep into the groundwater. Otherwise, weeding has to be done manually—and it can be difficult to find workers for that task.

But the agricultural robot LaserWeeder neither requires a wage nor pollutes the environment.

With 30 CO2 lasers, it can remove 200,000 weeds per hour without harming the environment. The robot can be attached to the back of a tractor and is certified for organic farming, and it can reduce weed control costs by 80 percent, according to a press release by Carbon Robotics, the company behind the robot.

According to the CEO and founder Paul Mikesell, the robot offers “healthier crops and soil, decreased herbicide use, and reduced chemical and labor costs.”

The weeding robot’s 30 lasers are spread over six metres and can be digitally adjusted for the crop rows in the field and the plant in question. Using artificial intelligence, the robot identifies the weeds using thermal energy, targets and eliminates them, all while the tractor pulls it forward. A lighting system enables it to operate day or night in all weather conditions.

Watch the robot wipe weeds out in the video linked below:

Carbon Robotics reports strong demand for the robot and claims that several agricultural companies said the new robot is a great help in making organic farming cheaper.

“Our mission has always been to provide farmers with the most effective tools, and the strong demand for LaserWeeders is evidence we’re helping them solve a serious problem,” CEO Paul Mikesell says.