TARLAKENYO (Dec. 29, 2022) — Three robots have been given a mission on a field in England: to find and zap weeds with electricity before planting seeds in the cleared soil..
The robots, Tom, Dick, and Harry robots were created by Small Robot Company to clear the land of undesirable weeds using the least amount of chemicals and oversized gear.
Since 2017, the business has been developing its autonomous weed killers, and in April, it unveiled Tom, its first commercial robot, which is already in use on three UK farms. The other robots are still in the testing phase of the prototype stage.
Small Robot says robot Tom can scan 20 hectares (49 acres) a day, collecting data that Dick, a “crop-care” robot, uses to zap weeds. The seeds are then planted in the weed-free soil by robot Harry.
Once fully operational, the business claims that farmers using the technology may save expenditures by 40% and pesticide use by up to 95%.
Pesticide trade in 2018 was estimated at $6 million tons, or $38 billion, by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Ben Scott-Robinson, co-founder and CEO of Small Robot, claims that “our approach allows farmers to wean their depleted, damaged soils off of a diet of pesticides.”
Small Robot has raised more than £7 million ($9.9 million). According to Scott-Robinson, the business plans to introduce its whole system of robots by 2023. This service will be charged a fee of about £400 ($568) per hectare. Once the monitoring robot has been installed on a farm, the weeding and planting robots are only provided after the data indicates they are required.
In order to create the zapping technique, Small Robot collaborated with RootWave, another UK-based firm.
According to Scott-Robinson, the current “creates a current that runs down the roots of the plant through the earth and then back up, which eliminates the weed.” “We may go to each plant that is endangering the agricultural plants and remove them individually.”
It doesn’t happen as quickly as it would if you sprayed the entire field, he claims. Plants that are neutral or helpful to the crops are left unaffected, however, so keep in mind that we just have to walk into the areas of the field where the weeds reside.
This kind of exact agriculture, where every plant is tracked and tallied, is known as “per plant farming,” according to Small Robot.