The first prototype of a robot for mechanical weeding was created in 2014 by Paolo Ferrentino (in the photo). "It is a vehicle that performs mechanical weeding proceeding autonomously without the need for operators. It is still a prototype for now, so we are not presenting the definitive machine, but rather an idea," explains Paolo Ferrentino, creator of the mechanical weeding robot.
The robot is an evolution of a solution for stone fruit harvesting and the idea came from observing the Sele plain and the most representative crops in this area. A study conducted by Ferrentino revealed how, every year, greenhouse production in this specific area grows by 10-15%, leading the expert to developing a technological innovation suitable for fresh-cut producers.
"The robot aims at enhancing the production performances of agricultural entrepreneurs improving their work, increasing profits and obtaining healthier products of a higher quality. Thanks to this solution, operators can focus more on management and less on manual or hard labor."
The machine is very simple: it is equipped with an automatic electric cart, 4 steering drive wheels, a computer and computer-vision AI cameras. But Paolo is also working on other functions, as "mechanical weeding is just one of the robot's countless applications to be implemented in the future. We are also studying the crops to which this technology can be applied. Of course the robot can be customized."
"I am certain other European countries are already working on something similar, which will be presented next year. If this intuition is correct, I believe we will see more automation as of 2022. I am looking to set up a startup in 2021, so I am open to collaborations in the world of technologies applied to agriculture and I am looking for reliable partners."
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