With machine vision and lasers, robots take weeds out of the field

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In Germany, a system using cameras and lasers on an all-terrain robot vehicle that can automatically identify weeds in a field and then weaken them with short laser pulses is being developed by researchers from the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the University of Bonn. With an EXIST Business Start-up Grant from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the scientists are driving the tool’s development for field work.

The scientists propose that laser-based weed control can eliminate herbicides, both saving farmers money and protecting the environment. In organic agriculture, herbicides are ruled out as they are considered toxic chemicals, and unwanted plants must be laboriously weeded out. This time-consuming work could be taken care of by robots.

“The idea combines innovative robots with a current sustainability topic,” says transfer advisor Rüdiger Wolf. He says the analyses of the market and competition for such an application are sound.