This is the first ever completely autonomous machine for the ecological and economical weeding of row crops, meadows and intercropping cultures. This robot works without being controlled by a human operator.
Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a Roomba-like robot that can tend to crops automatically. It covers the ground just by getting it bearings and positioning itself with the help of its camera, GPS RTK and sensors. The autonomous weed killer robot has a system of vision that enables it to follow crop rows and to detect the presences and position of weeds in and between the rows.
Two robotic arms then apply a microdose of herbicide systematically targeting the weeds that have been detected. Reliance on solar power makes the robot completely autonomous in terms of energy, even when the weather is overcast. As it adapts its speed to the concentration of weeds, it is most suitable for use in fields where the level of concentration is low to moderate, in order to cover the ground at a reasonable speed.
The robot can work for up to 12 hours a day, and without the need for a human operator. The device, weighing just 130 kilograms, is solar powered, with no rechargeable batteries. The machine can be completely controlled and configured by means of a Smartphone app.
The autonomous weed killer by ecoRobotix can be seen in the video below.