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.

Text alert

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.