Meet LaserWeeder: AI-Powered Robot To Revolutionise Weed Control

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News in brief: Seattle-based robot-maker, Carbon Robotics has developed the LaserWeeder, a machine powered by AI, which can eliminate over 200,000 weeds per hour without chemicals or tilling. The technology uses deep learning networks to differentiate between weeds and crops, and it won the Best AI-based Solution for Agriculture award for its efficiency in saving time and lowering labor costs.

Carbon Robotics, a Seattle-based robotics company, has developed a machine powered by artificial intelligence (AI), called the LaserWeeder, that efficiently rids farming fields of weeds.

According to the description page, the robot does not till the soil nor use chemicals as part of its weed solution. Yet, it is projected to be able to eliminate over 200,000 weeds per hour and help users save up to 80% on weed control expenses.

Paul Mikesell, the CEO of Carbon Robotics, said that the technology relies on deep learning networks, which involves training it to learn and make intelligent decisions from thousands of crop images. Then, the system will be able to tell unwanted plants apart from food crops. Finally, the trained AI system is plugged into a series of lasers that target the weeds and burns them out.

LaserWeeder comes with 150W CO2 lasers that have millimeter accuracy and can fire every 50 milliseconds, the company’s head claimed. He added that the innovation is cost effective because it doesn’t require chemical herbicides and manual labour.

The machine won the 2023 Best AI-based Solution for Agriculture, a program devoted to honouring excellence in Artificial Intelligence technologies, services, companies and products. The organisers said that it emerged as winner for its time-saving efficiency and lowering labour costs. According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, labour accounts for 28.2% of a modern farmer’s total expenses,.

LaserWeeder has been tested on farmlands of approximately 4,000 acres in size, but can also work in smaller farms. The makers assures that it poses no risk of fire hazards. We may soon see it in some farms as the company raised $30 million earlier in 2023 to begin mass producing the weed-burning robot.

Agricultural robots or machines are getting more popular with their capability to assist in planting crops, watering plants, harvesting fruits and vegetables, and now, weeding. While there are some concerns about how they may impact the workforce, many farmers believe that they will greatly help reduce labour costs and improve yields.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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