This new farming robot uses lasers to kill 200,000 weeds per hour
In February, agricultural robotics company Carbon Robotics unveiled its 2022 LaserWeeder implement, a cost-effective weed control solution for large-scale specialty row crops, according to a press release by the company.
It consists of an autonomous, laserweeding pull-behind robot that seamlessly attaches to the back of tractors to chop off 200,000 weeds per hour with lasers. This is 100,000 more than when it was first introduced in 2021.
Proven benefits for weed cropping
“We’ve proven the effectiveness of our laserweeding technology and the immense benefits it offers farmers, including healthier crops and soil, decreased herbicide use, and reduced chemical and labor costs,” said Carbon Robotics CEO and Founder, Paul Mikesell.
“To best serve farmers’ needs, we’ve adapted the design of our product, but will still leverage our proven laserweeding technology. Our mission has always been to provide farmers with the most effective tools, and the strong demand for LaserWeeders is evidence we’re helping them solve a serious problem.”
The new machine features 30 industrial CO2 lasers, more than 3 times the lasers in Carbon Robotics’ self-driving Autonomous LaserWeeder. Growers who use the device are seeing up to 80 percent savings in weed management costs, with a break-even period of two to three years.
Better yet, the new model integrates effortlessly into existing farming infrastructures while covering more ground and solving problems associated with spraying, hand weeding, and mechanical weeding.
The machine also boasts sophisticated artificial intelligence technology that enables the robot to instantly identify, target, and eliminate weeds using thermal energy while continuously rolling. Furthermore, it features a lighting system that enables the LaserWeeder to operate day or night in almost all weather conditions.
"Grimmway Farms is dedicated to protecting natural resources and the environment while optimizing crop yield and soil health,” said Jeff Morrison, director of innovation & new technology at Grimmway Farms.
“We are constantly improving our processes and evaluating new equipment to support our commitment to this mission. When we learned of Carbon Robotics’ laserweeding technology, we were eager to deploy it on our farms. This revolutionary approach to weeding has the potential to deliver precision, reliability, and cost-effectiveness in organic weeding that has not previously been available, making it an ideal solution to weed management."
Traditional methods damaging to crops and environment
For many years, farmers have relied on traditional weeding methods such as herbicides, mechanical weeding, and hand weeding, which are damaging both to the environment and the crops. Laserweeding offers a reliable and sustainable option for farmers to tackle weeds without harm to their surroundings or the climate.
"Securing farm labor continues to be increasingly challenging, so we are always looking for ways to automate our processes," said Josh Roberts, president and GM of Triangle Farms in Salinas, California
"The LaserWeeder automates one of the most demanding, costly, and time-intensive tasks on the farm: weeding. The implement design is familiar and easy to integrate into daily operations while streamlining weed maintenance, providing consistency that farmers value and rely on to support the growth of our businesses."