FarmWise’ weed-pulling robots take care of each plant individually

The agriculture sector is increasingly facing a labor shortage these days. We’ll need to make the most of what we have got by growing more food with less effort. The obvious option is robots that can help us out a little bit.

An autonomous farming robot startup FarmWise is looking to enhance farming efficiency by automating everything from seeding to harvesting. The company starts with the worst task of all i.e. weeding. It has announced on Tuesday that they’ve just raised the US $14.5 million to do it.

FarmWise has developed giant robots for automatic weeding that accurately recognizes weeds and eliminates them without the help of herbicides. Frankly, they are automating a job that no one wants to do manually as well as finding a less chemical-reliant way of doing it.

FarmWise collects massive amounts of data about every single plant in an entire field.
FarmWise collects massive amounts of data about every single plant in an entire field. Credit: FarmWise

Using a computer vision system and high-precision mechanical tools, FarmWise’s sophisticated robots cleanly pick weeds from fields, leaving crops with the best opportunity to thrive while eliminating harmful chemical inputs. To date, These weed-pulling robots have efficiently removed weeds from more than 10 million plants.

These vehicles are currently in the prototype stage. The California-based startup is collecting massive amounts of data about every single plant in an entire field, which is something that hasn’t been possible before. This kind of data can be used for a lot of things but the long-term hope is that robots could tend to every single plant individually – weeding them, fertilizing them, telling them what good plants they are. And then mercilessly yanking them out of the ground at absolute peak ripeness.

Read more: Smart Agricopter eliminates manual pesticide spraying in agricultural fields

This is not realistic to do with human labor, but it is a data-intensive and consistent task that can be ideal for robots. The company plan to create several more test models in order to launch mass production of weeding machines in 2020.



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