Californian tech firm FarmWise has developed an autonomous weeding robot that has been tested in cauliflower and lettuce crops.
The units drive themselves through the field and use artifical intelligence and computer vision to automate the jobs of weeding and thinning in vegetable crops. The company hopes this will help deal with the current agricultural labour crisis and reduce problems with herbicide resistance.
It works by analysing plant images in real time through on-board computers that run complex algorithms, before mechanically wiping out undesirables without any chemical.
Currently, each robot is monitored by a human operator in the field and at the firm’s technical centre. However, FarmWise hopes to reach a higher level of autonomy where one person will be able to manage several machines.
Construction is being carried out by an automotive manufacturer in Detroit, Michigan.