It’s not your ordinary weed-killer. A massive self-driving robot can zap away 100,000 weeds an hour with high-powered lasers, allowing farmers to use fewer herbicides.
The autonomous Laserweeder, which Carbon Robotics unveiled in April, is a whopping 10,000 pounds and has eight lasers that can fire 20 times per second.
Carbon Robotics said the robots use computer vision and thermal energy to identify and eliminate weeds without disturbing the soil.
The robots can drive 5 miles per hour and clear 15-20 acres in a day
They rely on 12 high-resolution cameras and artificial intelligence (AI) to recognize good crops like broccoli and carrots from weeds.
In an interview with Forbes, Carbon Robotics founder Paul Mikesell said soil health suffers from harsh herbicide use — and he wants the Laserweeder to create a sustainable path to organic farming.
Forbes reported that weeds are becoming more resistant to herbicides, forcing manufacturers to reformulate already potent chemicals.
“What happens to the land over time, where we wind up stripping out a lot of the essential micro bacteria that’s down there in the ground, we’re changing the way that things are composting in the ground, and it’s causing a bunch of longer-term issues with soil health,” Mikesell said.
In September, Carbon Robotics secured $27 million in investor funding to help with growing sales, customer support, engineering, and marketing.
Carbon Robotics said its 2021 and 2022 models are sold out, but it’s accepting new orders for 2023.