Tackling weeds is one of the most critical challenges in modern agriculture. Just like any other plant, weeds need resources to thrive and grow, stunting the growth of other plants and crops that get in the way. They cause a whole lot of other issues, too. Weeds often carry crop pathogens or attract pests that further harm our crops and affect their quality. Furthermore, if we leave them untreated, weeds will become more resilient and start pulling more nutrients from the soil, robbing the crops of necessary health food.
A weed infestation leads to uncontrollable pest infestation, and it doesn’t take long to notice how these invaders intervene with the harvest. One of the ways farmers manage weeds is by spraying them with herbicides. They can be applied before the weeds even take form, and they’re an excellent remedy for when you can’t get rid of deep-rooted weeds. However, most herbicides are toxic to some degree and have a tremendous environmental impact. They pollute streams, destroy some soil organisms beneficial for crops, and may lead to human and animal diseases.
Nevertheless, farmers need them. However, herbicides are no longer available in the form of chemicals only. Instead, we can now rely on AI-powered lasers to safely keep the weeds at bay.
Laser weeding is the latest approach to weed control for commercial farming. The process can kill 99% of weeds in any crop area without harming precious produce. CarbonRobotics launched the commercial LaserWeeder in early 2022, and these machines will soon be utilized across 17 US states. The company aims to expand its offering to the global markets.
With the help of AI and machine learning LaserWeeder can save time and money without compromising our health or violating environmental norms. Farmers no longer have to choose between manual or mechanical weed removal, which costs time and energy, and harmful herbicides, as LaserWeeder comes to the rescue.
LaserWeeder is as large as an average harvester. It relies on AI and high-resolution cameras to distinguish between unwanted weeds and crops, allowing for a meticulous de-weeding process. Time and weather conditions don’t affect the machine’s ability to recognize and eliminate weeds, and this powerful laser covers two acres per hour.
Together, Nvidia GPUs, AI deep-learning models, and 42 high-resolution cameras target weeds and eliminate them. The laser is ready to fire every 50 milliseconds, destroying up to 200,000 weeds per hour. As a result, 99% of weeds are gone after just one use.
LaserWeeder will soon make organic farming more accessible and help farmers save time and money. Not only that, but the food on our table will be healthier, as no use of herbicides would intervene with the crops.
AI-powered lasers that will soon transform agriculture are an excellent example of how we can utilize AI for good instead of shying away from it. Although AI in agriculture goes beyond laser weeding, it’s safe to say that CarbonRobotics’ efforts will bring numerous advantages that will spread across other industries and inspire new AI-based tools that will make our lives easier and our mother nature happier.