ecoRobotix’ weedkiller robot can autonomously spray herbicides across 12 hectares of farmland
The process of manually de-weeding crops is highly demanding, time extensive and laborious. In order to bring fresh produce of higher quality and quantity, farmers are now opting for mechanical devices to carry out tasks related to crop growing, maintaining and harvesting.
One of these mechanical devices is the all-new intelligent farm robot, called the ecoRobotix’ robot weeder. This table-resembling device can maneuver through crops without damaging them, detect weeds, and directly spray herbicide over them all on its own!
This robot comes equipped with four wheels that function in rough terrains, allowing it to move around with ease in any type of farmland of all topographies. Furthermore, its “table” shape comes primarily from the 380w horizontal solar panels on the top, that provide a continuous source of energy to the in-built battery, which enables it to run continuously even at dusk or dawn. Two electric drive motors power the ecoRobotix weeder, which let it run for 12 hours in a day (in most areas). Not only that, it weighs only 286 pounds, which makes it weigh much less than tractors and other farm automobiles, and unlike the traditional vehicles, its lightweight body prevents excessive soil compaction when its exploring the fields. Thanks to its fully autonomous functions and solar-powered battery, the ecoRobotix robot weeder can power through the entire day without constant human supervision.
So, how does it navigate between crops so easily? Well, thanks to the onboard camera, a GPS RTK and sensor modules, the robot can detect crops and lay out its path of travel accordingly. Furthermore, these technological aspects also help it in identifying weeds. Once it does detect a weed, two arm-like devices lower themselves onto the weed and apply a small amount of herbicide to exactly where the weed is located, while avoiding the surrounding crops. This prevents any wastage of chemical and protects the crop from any harmful sprays. Apparently, micro-dosing weeds with herbicides instead of spraying them over the entire crop area account for a 30 percent decrement in prices, allowing farmers to save the extra cash they would have spent otherwise.
Furthermore, the ecoRobotix robot weeder can hold 30 liters of herbicide in its integrated tank, which the company expects, will last a day at least. Its other features include a top speed of 1.3 feet per second, a maximum crop height of 9.8 feet and a companion app- for both iOS and Android- that allows the farmer to control the robot via remote.
Not only that, the robot can cover an impressive three hectares of surface area in a day! This value is expected to vary according to the weed cover on the farmland; because in an area with higher weed concentration, the robot will move slower. The outfit suggests using traditional methods of de-weeding at least once before going on to using the robot. By employing this method, the robot will remove any weeds that grow after initial weeding at a much faster pace. The company says, this method will allow the robot to cover up to 12 hectares of land on its own in a day.
Let’s see how well the robot actually performs when it goes on sale in 2019!
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h/t: Digital Trends