The Carbon Robotics company has developed an agricultural robot capable of eliminating 100,000 weeds an hour through the use of precision lasers and artificial intelligence systems.
According to Fast Company, this novel machine equipped with artificial intelligence has 12 high-resolution cameras that point to the rows of crops: the images are sent to the intelligent system, which is capable of identifying plants in real-time. When a weed is detected, a laser flashes and instantly kills it.
"I think this will be the biggest herbicide revolution in agriculture," stated James Johnson, a fourth-generation farmer who runs the New Mexico farm that tested the robot this year.
According to Greenpeace data, in 2015 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans. Scientists also suspect that it is an endocrine disruptor that negatively affects fertility. However, nearly 127 million liters of glyphosate, the active ingredient in herbicides like Roundup, are used each year in the United States alone. As a result, many weeds have evolved to become more resistant to spraying.
The use of pesticides has also worsened pests, killed beneficial microbes in the soil, and polluted the waters.
Agricultural automatons, such as Carbon Robotics, are ideal to avoid the use of chemicals, killing weeds with a laser, which carefully targets their growth cells. They also represent an important instrument to promote organic agriculture.
The people responsible for the startup want the robot to work with renewable energy in the future. They also state that it would take producers 3 to 5 growing seasons to recover the initial investment in the robot.
Carbon Robotics just announced that it has secured a $ 27 million Series B round of financing, which will allow the company to invest in engineering and expand to more farms as demand from farmers has far exceeded their offer so far.