Development of robotized weed control platform

Hand weeding is still a widely used method in organic vegetable growing in our country. Such an approach is characterized by low labor productivity, besides other disadvantages – the lack of seasonal workers and weather dependent. The project aimed to develop a weed management platform that would be able to autonomously move on a field and identify weeds and crops, equipped with a high-power laser and precisely positioned mechanical tool, to destroy the weed or considerably hinder its further growth.

During the project a new prototype was developed, starting from the designing and construction of separate units up to the development of control software algorithms. The Four-wheel autonomous platform recognizes weeds and treats them with either laser or small-scale rotating hoe.

The prototype includes the following solutions:

Mobile platform
Computer vision
Optical laser & Mechanical

The prototype was tested on 3 farms with 6 different crops (carrot, zucchini, radish, black radish, pumpkin, and beetroot) in early stages (2 to 4 leaves).

Technology for efficient, targeted weed management!

445 nm blue laser is capable to stop or significantly reduce the speed of weed development thus allowing crops to take over. It is possible to perform weed control even by stopping weed growth, complete canopy destruction is time and energy consuming and even not advisable. It is more feasible to identify crops between weeds and treat all other green canopies than trying to make datasets for all possible weed species and development stages. Localization of ground-based mobile robot using GNSS in field conditions is possible, problems arise with close obstacles (trees, buildings, lighting masts, etc.).