3.4 C
New York

Mother plucker: Steel fingers guided by AI pluck weeds rapidly and autonomously

Published:

The Ekobot autonomous weeding robot roving around an onion field in Sweden.

Enlarge / The Ekobot autonomous weeding robot roving around an onion field in Sweden. (credit: Ekobot AB)

Anybody who has pulled weeds in a garden knows that it's a tedious task. Scale it up to farm-sized jobs, and it becomes a nightmare. The most efficient industrial alternative, herbicides, have potentially devastating side effects for people, animals, and the environment. So a Swedish company named Ekobot AB has introduced a wheeled robot that can autonomously recognize and pluck weeds from the ground rapidly using metal fingers.

The four-wheeled Ekobot WEAI robot is battery-powered and can operate 10–12 hours a day on one charge. It weighs 600 kg (about 1322 pounds) and has a top speed of 5 km/h (2.5 mph). It's tuned for weeding fields full of onions, beetroots, carrots, or similar vegetables, and it can cover about 10 hectares (about 24.7 acres) in a day. It navigates using GPS RTK and contains safety sensors and vision systems to prevent it from unintentionally bumping into objects or people.

To pinpoint plants it needs to pluck, the Ekobot uses an AI-powered machine vision system trained to identify weeds as it rolls above the farm field. Once the weeds are within its sights, the robot uses a series of metal fingers to quickly dig up and push weeds out of the dirt. Ekobot claims that in trials, its weed-plucking robot allowed farmers to grow onions with 70 percent fewer pesticides. The weed recognition system is key because it keeps the robot from accidentally digging up crops by mistake.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ars Technica - All contentContinue reading/original-link]

Related articles

spot_img

Recent articles

spot_img