Robots to Root Out Weeds
Current farming methods mean large amounts of weed killer are sprayed indiscriminately over fields of crops that have been genetically modified to resist the chemicals. It’s an expensive and wasteful process. But the new science of artificial intelligence could change that.
Robots are now being designed that can roll through fields, identifying and targeting individual weeds as they go. Swiss company EcoRobitix claims its autonomous, solar-powered robot will use 20 times less herbicide than conventional methods and is 95 per cent accurate. Other companies are also working on similar projects.
“A lot of the technology is already available. It’s just a question of packaging it together at the right cost for the farmers,” says Richard Lightbound of robotics research company Robo.