Carbon Robotics release third generation weeding robot

By: Chris McCullough

Presented by

A US-built laser-wielding weed zapping robot will offer new efficiencies for organic farmers, its designers say.

New models of the autonomous weeder for 2022 are now available for pre-order

A new weeding robot that uniquely uses lasers to exterminate the enemy has been released by Carbon Robotics in the US.

The Seattle based company has released its third generation Autonomous Weeder which uses a combination of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and laser technology to safely and effectively drive through crop fields to identify, target and eliminate weeds.

However, if you are on the market for one of these robots you will have to wait until 2022 as all the 2021 models have already sold out. New models for the 2022 growing season are available for pre-order.

Unlike other weeding technologies, the robots utilise high-power lasers to eradicate weeds through thermal energy, without disturbing the soil.

Farmers who operate automated robots have the ability to reduce their use of herbicides, reduce labour and costs while at the same time improving crop yields.

Carbon Robotics chief executive and founder Paul Mikesell says advances in technology are opening up new opportunities for innovation.

"AI and deep learning technology are creating efficiencies across a variety of industries and we’re excited to apply it to agriculture," he says.

"Farmers, and others in the global food supply chain, are innovating now more than ever to keep the world fed. Our goal at Carbon Robotics is to create tools that address their most challenging problems, including weed management and elimination."

Carbon Robotics says the robots will bring farmers a significant increase in crop yield and quality – with lasers leaving the soil microbiology undisturbed, unlike tillage.

The lack of herbicides and soil disruption paves the way for a regenerative approach, which leads to healthy crops and higher yields.

It also promises a reduction in overall costs – helping to cut the costs of manual labour as well as of crop inputs – and creating cost-effective weed control to help create an economical path to organic farming.

Carbon Robotics’ ground-breaking technology is designed for row crops of as low as 80 hectares, with a single robot able to weed 6-8 hectares per day.

Since its founding in 2018, the company has worked closely with farmers to develop its technology, which supports effective and efficient weed elimination for both conventional and organic farmers.

The robots have undergone beta testing on specialty crops farms, working on fields with a variety of crops, including broccoli and onions.

James Johnson of Carzalia Farm, has used Carbon Robotics’ technology on his farm and has been well pleased.

"This is one of the most innovative and valuable technologies that I’ve seen as a farmer," he says.

"I expect the robots to go mainstream because of how effectively they address some of farming’s most critical issues, including the overuse of chemicals, process efficiency and labour. These robots work with a variety of crops, are autonomous and organic. The sky’s the limit."

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