February 7, 2022
Agricultural robotics firm Carbon Robotics has unveiled its 2022 LaserWeeder implement, an autonomous laser-weeding pull-behind robot that can seamlessly attach to the back of a tractor. The system is aimed at weed control for large-scale specialty row crops.
In addition to an updated build, the 2022 LaserWeeder includes 30 industrial CO2 lasers, more than three times the lasers in Carbon’s self-driving autonomous LaserWeeding, to create an average weeding capacity of two acres per hour. The company said customers that use these implements are seeing up to 80% in savings in weed management costs, with a break-even period of two to three years.
“We’ve proven the effectiveness of our laser-weeding technology and the immense benefits it offers farmers, including healthier crops and soil, decreased herbicide use, and reduced chemical and labor costs,” said Paul Mikesell, CEO and founder of Carbon Robotics. “To best serve farmers’ needs, we’ve adapted the design of our product, but will still leverage our proven laser-weeding technology. Our mission has always been to provide farmers with the most effective tools, and the strong demand for LaserWeeders is evidence we’re helping them solve a serious problem.”
Carbon Robotics said it worked closely with leading vegetable growers to design the 2022 implement so it integrates effortlessly into existing farming infrastructure while covering more ground and solving problems associated with spraying, hand weeding and mechanical weeding.
As a liftable agricultural implement, the 2022 LaserWeeder offers unique benefits, including:
- Higher Performance. With 30 lasers spanning three crop rows (roughly 20 feet wide), this model has an average effective weeding capacity of two acres per hour.
- Flexible Configuration. The robot is fully adjustable for crop row widths ranging from 60 to 84 inches. Adjustments for transitioning between different crops can be made via a touch-screen without leaving the comfort of the cab.
- Tractor Ready. The LaserWeeder is towed by common row tractors with a three-point hitch.
Like its self-driving 2021 predecessor, the 2022 version features Carbon Robotics’ artificial intelligence technology that enables the robot to instantly identify, target, and eliminate weeds using thermal energy — while rolling. The company’s patented lighting system enables the LaserWeeder to operate day or night in virtually all weather conditions, with millimeter accuracy.
“Grimmway Farms is dedicated to protecting natural resources and the environment while optimizing crop yield and soil health,” said Jeff Morrison, director of innovation & new technology at Grimmway Farms. “We are constantly improving our processes and evaluating new equipment to support our commitment to this mission. When we learned of Carbon Robotics’ laserweeding technology, we were eager to deploy it on our farms. This revolutionary approach to weeding has the potential to deliver precision, reliability and cost-effectiveness in organic weeding that has not previously been available, making it an ideal solution to weed management.”
Farmers have long relied on traditional weeding methods including, herbicides, mechanical weeding and hand weeding, though each present challenges. Herbicides can impact the health of the crops, mechanical weeding can damage the plants and hand labor is expensive and challenging to find. Carbon Robotics said laser-weeding is an innovative, reliable and sustainable solution for farmers and has proven to be effective on more than a dozen crops.
“Securing farm labor continues to be increasingly challenging, so we are always looking for ways to automate our processes,” said Josh Roberts, president and GM of Triangle Farms in Salinas, Calif. “The LaserWeeder automates one of the most demanding, costly, and time-intensive tasks on the farm: weeding. The implement design is familiar and easy to integrate into daily operations while streamlining weed maintenance, providing consistency that farmers value and rely on to support the growth of our businesses.”
Carbon Robotics said its 2022 LaserWeeder is already sold out, with orders from Grimmway Farms, Carzalia Valley Produce, Mercer Ranches, Taylor Farms, Triangle Farms, Terranova Ranch, Bowles Farming Co, Braga Ranch, Duncan Family Farms and Amigo Farms. The company said it is currently accepting pre-orders for 2023.
For more details about Carbon Robotics, visit its website here.