Video: Taking the hardship out of weeding with a robot
RTK Farming has become a distributor for a robotic weeder. The ‘Oz weeding robot’ is a product of French company Naio Technologies.
The price of the small ‘Oz’ robot starts at about £25,000, while a larger ‘Dino’ model costs about £100,000.
The robots were originally controlled by an operator with a remote control. However, RTK signal can now be used to guide the robot or robots onto crop rows.
The robot is equipped with hoes and a set of brushes to the back. It has front-mounted sensors, which guide it down the rows of the crop.
In order for this function to work, the crop must either have leaves or be planted on a mound of 10cm in height. A strip of 55-120cm is required between rows for the robot to work.
The robot can turn at the end of a row provided there is a clean strip of ground or a strip of mowed lawn.
The robots may replace herbicide application or manual weeding in the future, as farmers run fleets of robots across their fields.
The robot also has a text function, which will alert the farmer when it has finished its work; has run into an obstacle; has a blockage; or where there is an error in row length. As the robot also works off RTK, no supervision is required.
Follows the operator
The robot can also follow a worker around and tow a trailer to carry loads at harvest time. The Oz can tow up to 300kg.
It can travel at speed of up to 1.3kph. This is the equivalent of weeding a 100m row in less than five minutes. It also runs on a battery, which can last up to 10 hours and can be either changed or charged.
The robot is available in many different sizes; the largest robot has a working width of 2m. A video of ‘The farmers’ assistant’ is below and it’s worth a watch.