Carbon Robotics, a developer of robots powered by artificial intelligence (AI), has added what it describes as the industry’s first ‘LaserThinning capability’ to its LaserWeeder solution.
‘LaserThinning’ is a process by which vegetable crops are purposefully overseeded and then thinned for optimal crop spacing, growth and yield and is done through use of lasers.
According to the robotics company, this is particularly valuable for farmers growing any direct seeded leafy green and cole crops, such as lettuce or broccoli.
What’s more, by using lasers for thinning, the new solution eliminates the need for chemicals or manual labour. The procedure is also unaffected by wind or moisture, meaning it can be performed during the day or night.
“With our pace of innovation, we offer a software extensible tool that addresses farming’s most pressing challenge – weeding – and expands to tackle other problems such as thinning,” said Paul Mikesell, CEO and founder of Carbon Robotics.
“The LaserWeeder enables farmers to accurately execute crop thinning and weeding without disturbing crops or soil, helping to improve crop yields and soil health.”
As a new software update, all LaserWeeders in the fleet will now be able to both thin and weed on a single farm equipment platform, Carbon Robotics has said.
Some of the newly-announced software features intended to boost the functionality and speed of the LaserWeeder include:
- LaserThinning, which means the LaserWeeder can be set to weeding mode, thinning mode, or weeding and thinning mode via its user interface
- Prioritised seedline weeding, which means the machine can be set to use dynamic or static banding to increase speed and weeding efficiency. Dynamic banding automatically detects the seed line and adjusts for plant line drift and operator variability
- Speed optimisation, which means the latest software will recommend ideal tractor speed based on grower-desired weed percentage and weed type kill rates to optimise speed in weeding environments
- More than 40 deep learning crop models, which can be added in 24-48 hours.
“LaserThinning is a breakthrough approach and delivers benefits that are an order of magnitude better than existing solutions,” said Matt McGuire, general manager at JV Farms.
“This technology is revolutionising how we handle weeding and thinning, bringing dependability, speed and accuracy to our farming practices.”
According to Carbon Robotics, growers using the LaserWeeder can cut annual weed control costs by up to 80%, resulting in a return on investment in as little as one to three years.