Organic producers of herbal and aromatic plants struggle with one of the oldest agricultural problems — getting rid of weeds. Non-organic farming typically employs herbicides, but there are many reasons you’d want to avoid them — thus your only weed-removal option is manual labor. But this is back-breaking work, which is costly and unreliable, and is expected to become even more so.
We’ve made our farming rover with the initial goal of doing automated weeding. It is a 4WD robotic platform, driven by electric motors and powered by solar panels. Key aspects include:
- Automatic recognition of weeds vs useful plants using a novel neural network trained to the cultivated plant. The rover overhangs the plants and moves along the rows;
- Targeting system and a variety of weed-killing and weed-inhibition instruments;
- Fully solar-powered: a powerful battery + optimized energy consumption provides for 24/7 operations, weeding 3000+ m² per 24 hours;
- Autonomous navigation and obstacle avoidance, covering a predefined GPS polygon;
- Foldable and lightweight
- A work-plan is created via the operator dashboard to outline the farmable area as a GPS polygon;
- The rover is transported to the work area, and positioned so it faces the first row of crops. The final movement by hand is actually quite easy, as the rover is lightweight and can be easily be carried by just 2 people. Transportation is also not an issue, as the wheel assembly is detachable, so it can become quite compact – you can drive it around in just about any car;
- You’re all set – you can send it the command to start weeding! The rover will automatically turn around on the next row of crops when it reaches the border of the work area;
- You’ll receive a notification when it’s done, and you can go to collect it;
- No refueling or consumables needed – it is that simple!
While our current platform is a Proof-of-Concept for weeding in organic oregano farms, we plan to extend its functionality to other crops and other roles, such as
- Soil measurements;
- Identification of crop problems and diseases;
- Pest control;
- and more …
Stuck on other problem that may be solved by a rover? Send us a question!
Rosen K has more than 15 years of prior Sales and Marketing consulting experiences, working in various industries. He always had a passion for agriculture, which gradually grew from a hobby, a side hustle and on to making gathering a team for creating and autonomous robot.
Veselin G has been fascinated with computer programming ever since his mid-teens and this passion grew into his professional choice. Later on he also developed a keen interest in automation and robotics, working on various projects as a self-styled entrepreneur.
Rossen D studied computer science and informatics in Bulgaria and Germany where he also he also engaged in applied mathematics research and co-authored several articles. Later he went back to the private sector, transferring the academic theory into high performance software.
Stefan lives in the US, where he worked for years in the VC and angel investors industry gaining large experience in start-up assessment, funding processes and financial management.