Row crop use of LaserWeeder gets closer

New venture capital funding will help expand laser weeding technology into row crops.

Founder and CEO of Carbon Robotics Paul Mikesell says the LaserWeeder uses artificial intelligence to eliminate weeds.

“In any particular crop, our machine has learned the life cycle and development of that crop and the weeds in that field, and then all those machines know that information so they kind of cross-learn from each other,” he explains.

He says the current 20-foot machine can cover about two acres an hour in produce crops and efforts are underway to go bigger.

“We are in early, early-stage development on building machines that are more suited towards row crops in terms of size and laser placement, etcetera,” he shares.

The cost of a Laser Weeder can be similar to some herbicide programs, but Mikesell says, “Yield is dramatically different and that yield increase, even across row crops makes a huge difference.”

“That’s some of what we are testing right now, and we’ll have more of this information specific to row crops coming out next year along with the machines,” he says.

Mikesell says the technology is also more accurate than precision sprayers, getting within a millimeter of the crop it’s weeding around.

Carbon Robotics recently announced new funding from NVIDIA’s venture capital arm NVenture.

AUDIO: Paul Mikesell, Carbon Robotics

Photo courtesy of Carbon Robotics

  • This is a great innovation for herbicide-free farming!. The quality of the end product is obvious compared to herbicides. What is perhaps less obvious is the nutrient contribution to the soil from the lasered weeds. Effectively, this process uses the weeds to donate their nutrients to the intended crop while enhancing the soil microbiome, not destroying it like herbicides do.

    I would ve surprised if this technology could not also be used to destroy insect larvae concurrently, since insect larvae are responsible for crop yield loss. I predict this will be an innovation in the near future, as the dead larvae will also contribute to soil nutrients and microbiome.

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