Carbon Robotics

Weeds compete for soil nutrients, water, space, and sunlight with the crops farmers grow to help feed people. Now a third-generation weeding robot, armed with lasers and powered by AI, offers the ultimate labor-saving device—while also eliminating the need for chemical herbicides.

The Autonomous Weeder by Carbon Robotics can eliminate 100,000 weeds per hour, and clear 15-20 acres in a single day—numbers that require a person working an entire season to match.

Trundling down a row of crops, a battery of twelve cameras scan the ground, identifying weeds through machine-learning and killing them with a CO2 laser. CO2 lasers use reactions between nitrogen, helium, carbon, and oxygen to generate powerful beams of light that are concentrated through mirrors inside the laser.

The robot’s onboard supercomputer ensures millimeter precision with its laser so as to avoid accidently clipping crops.

“This is one of the most innovative and valuable technologies that I’ve seen as a farmer,” said James Johnson of Carzalia Farm in a statement, who has utilized Carbon Robotics’ technology on his farm.

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“I expect the robots to go mainstream because of how effectively they address some of farming’s most critical issues, including the overuse of chemicals, process efficiency, and labor. The sky’s the limit.”

If a farmer wants to avoid using chemical herbicides, which have flooded nearly every corner of our food and water supply chains with a probable carcinogen in the form of glyphosate, they must find enough unskilled workers to pull weeds manually—a difficult task in the already shorted market of agricultural labor.

Solving both problems, it’s no surprise that the 2021 model of the Autonomous Weeder has already sold out, even considering its price tag which was quoted at “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Attempting to make the device more accessible, lease options are available from the company, as they have already made the 2022 models available for preorder.

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The de-weeding method of the robot is Certified Organic and in line with regenerative farming practices. Cost-effective weed control is the biggest barrier to entry with organic farming, and agriculturalists looking to make the switch finally have a seriously scalable alternative to help them get their veg out to people.

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