SEATTLE-based Carbon Robotics has launched its latest 2022 LaserWeeder implement, which is an autonomous, laser-weeding robot that is pulled behind a tractor with a three-point linkage.
This new machine is an adaptation of its original self-driving autonomous Laserweeder and is suitable for precise weed control in large-scale specialty row crops.
In addition to an updated build, the 2022 LaserWeeder features 30 industrial CO2 lasers – more than three times the number of lasers in the autonomous LaserWeeder.
As a liftable agricultural implement, this will offer unique benefits, including higher performance. The 30 lasers span across three crop row widths of around 20 feet wide, making this model capable of an average effective weeding capacity of two acres per hour.
The robot is fully adjustable for crop row widths, ranging from 60 to 84 inches. Adjustments for transitioning between different crops can be made via a touch-screen without leaving the comfort of the cab.
Carbon Robotics CEO and founder Paul Mikesell said: “We’ve proven the effectiveness of our laser weeding technology and the immense benefits it offers farmers, including healthier crops and soil, decreased herbicide use, and reduced chemical and labor costs.
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“To best serve farmers’ needs, we’ve adapted the design of our product, but will still leverage our proven laser weeding technology. Our mission has always been to provide farmers with the most effective tools, and the strong demand for LaserWeeders is evidence we’re helping them solve a serious problem. ”
Growers who use such implements are seeing up to 80% savings in weed management costs, with a break-even period of two to three years.
Carbon Robotics worked closely with leading vegetable growers to design the 2022 implement so that it integrated into existing farming infrastructure, while covering more ground and solving problems associated with spraying, hand weeding and mechanical weeding.
This 2022 LaserWeeder, like its self-driving 2021 predecessor, features Carbon Robotics’ sophisticated artificial intelligence technology. This enables the robot to instantly identify, target, and eliminate weeds using thermal energy, while on the move. A patented lighting system enables the LaserWeeder to operate day, or night in virtually all weather conditions, with very high accuracy.
Supplies for the 2022 LaserWeeder are already sold out and the company is currently accepting pre-orders for 2023.
Josh Roberts, president and GM of Triangle Farms in Salinas, California, said: “Securing farm labor continues to be increasingly challenging, so we are always looking for ways to automate our processes.
“The LaserWeeder automates one of the most demanding, costly, and time-intensive tasks on the farm: weeding. The implement design is familiar and easy to integrate into daily operations while streamlining weed maintenance, providing consistency that farmers value and rely on to support the growth of our businesses, ”he said.