Robots have been slowly creeping on to vegetable farms, but as yet most have been small machines not capable of coping with the rigours of working on bigger operations.
French-based firm Naïo Technologies reckons it has the answer, though. It’s just launched a beefed-up version of its autonomous Oz weeding robot designed specifically for veg farms with more than 9ha.
The Dino robot straddles vegetable beds from 1.2 to 1.8m wide and use laser- and camera-guided technology to mechanically weed them without any human intervention.
To adapt to soil and crop type, the machine can be equipped with a range of tools. These are also compatible with the old Oz weeding robot and include inter-row plowshares, comb harrows, spring harrows and specific plough shares for in-row weeding.
More tools, such as finger weeders from German maker Kress, are in the pipeline to enable a variety of weeding techniques.
At 600kg it sounds heavy, but it’s significantly lighter than a tractor, so should help reduce compaction. It will also trundle along at speeds of up to 4kph for up to eight hours without stopping. It will even send you a text message to tell you when it’s finished.
Prices will be in the region of £47,500-£55,500 (€60,000-€70,000).