FarmWise automates crop cultivation using machine vision and AI to identify crop plants from weed plants. The machine then articulates cultivation “knives” to cut the weed plant from its root, leaving the desired beneficial plants and crops intact.
This process is manually intensive. Typically a farmer might employ a hand crew of 5-40 people to cultivate a field during each crop rotation. However, labor availability is one of the key economic factors that’s driving the automation of this field task.
Herbicides are another alternative to controlling the weeds, however that has its own problems. For organic farming operations, herbicides are not an option. When herbicides are used, then can also impact the growth of the beneficial plants as well at the target crop.
In many cases, genetically modified (GMO) crop plants are used that are not impacted by the target herbicide. But this alternative also has its own concerns as many consumers shun GMO products.
Mechanical weeding is the oldest cultivation practice and now autonomous weeding solutions, like the FarmWise Titan robot, are making that process economically viable again.
The Farmwise Titan is an autonomous weeding solution that uses machine vision and artificial intelligence to identify crop plants and beneficials from weed plants.
Cameras underneath the Titan carriage look downward towards the ground, illuminate the plants with consistent lighting and and then identify and track all of the plants in the ground as the machine passes overhead. The Titan can then articulate mechanical blades to slice the ground around the crop plants and uproot the undesired plants.
The Titan is not an automated tractor, it requires an operator to walk alongside the machine using a simple tablet to guide its progress, steer the machine and monitor the entire weeding process. The part of the process that is automated is the operation of the cultivation blades as they plan and execute a path around crop plants and destroy weed plants.
FarmWise delivers the automated weeding as a service
The Titan is not for sale. FarmWise has built a fleet of Titan machines and sells the operation using a Robots as a Service (RaaS) business model. A farmer simply needs to schedule the service and a FarmWise technician delivers the machine to the farm AND completes the weeding cycle. FarmWise maintains its fleet and actually moves its Titan fleet around the country to match the growing cycles in various regions.
To see the FarmWise Titan in operation, watch this video from a recent in-field demo of the machine:
Editors note: This story originally appeared on The Robot Report