Cambridgeshire firm Standen-Reflex is bringing in the Dutch-made Steketee IC automatic weeder, which can operate at speeds up to 3.5kph.
The new machine, which was developed with Wageningen University, uses four cameras to “see” the crop, with an enclosed hood to prevent sunlight or shade from affecting the machine’s performance. Instead, LED lighting is used to improve precision and allow night operation.
From the camera images the computer is able to decipher the height, width and colour of the crop. That allows it to control exactly when the weeder blade passes between the plants. In fact the blades open and close six times a second, with power provided by a pto-driven compressor for better reliability.
The system has apparently been under development for several years and the unit can also be set up to detect green or red plants.
The control console is wi-fi-equipped, so the machine can be controlled remotely by a tablet computer. Adjustments available on the console include compensation for the height and width of plants, colour shade and the entry and exit time delay between plants. Other information displayed includes the hours worked and compressor oil temperature.
More on this topic
Kongskilde debuts versatile robot at Agritechnica