Question of the Week – Autonomous Laser Weeder

This week, the question was: What is this contraption?

This is a fully autonomous robotic laser weeder. The weeder creeps through the field without a human driver, using GPS, Lidar, and multiple sensors. The machine detects weeds in the planted crop. When a weed is detected, a laser zaps the weed, leaving the crop safely behind. With labor shortages becoming an ever-increasing problem, self-deployed and autonomous technologies are the future of agriculture. This machine allows growers to reduce their pesticide inputs as well. These photos were taken by Zack Snipes at the FIRA conference last week in Fresno, California. The conference featured many university and industry professionals collaborating and demonstrating their autonomous technologies. Many machines were electric as well.

The OZ 440 pictured here is a small-scale, multi-use autonomous robot that could be a good fit for East coast farms.

This week’s question is from Coastal Extension Agent Zack Snipes.

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