Self-Driving Farm Robot Uses Lasers To Kill 100,000 Weeds An Hour

The nutrient content of vegetables decreases with the use of harsh herbicide use, and with farmers increasingly concerned about the long-term health impacts of continually spraying chemicals on their fields, artificial intelligence was bound to get involved. Now, a self-driving farm robot can kill 100,000 weeds an hour…….by laser. Carbon Robotics, a Seattle-based agricultural robotics startup founded in 2018, came up with a 20-foot-wide laser-weeding implement built to deliver targeted energy that can identify what’s a weed in real time and kill them. The weeding machine is a beast at almost 10,000 pounds. It has 8 independently-aimed 150-watt lasers, typically used for metal cutting, that can fire 20 times per second. They’re guided by 12 high-resolution cameras connected to AI systems that can recognize good crops from bad weeds. The Laserweeder drives itself with computer vision, finding the furrows in the field, positioning itself with GPS, and searching for obstacles with LIDAR (light detection and ranging). It drives 5 mph and can clear 15-20 acres in a day. While Carbon Robotics does not share exact pricing information, the cost is comparable to a mid-size tractor, which can range anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000.