Large weeding robot aims to cut labour and chemical costs

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.

See also: The robotic technology revolutionising weed control

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.

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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).