There’s a lot riding on farmers’ ability to fight weeds, which can strangle crops and destroy yields.
There’s a lot riding on farmers’ ability to fight weeds, which can strangle crops and destroy yields. To protect crops, farmers have two options: They can spray herbicides that pollute the environment and harm human health, or they can hire more workers.
Unfortunately, both choices are becoming less tenable. Herbicide resistance is a growing problem in crops around the world, while widespread labor shortages have hit the agricultural sector particularly hard.
Now the startup FarmWise, co-founded by Sebastien Boyer SM ’16, is giving farmers a third option. The company has developed autonomous weeding robots that use artificial intelligence to cut out weeds while leaving crops untouched.
The company’s first robot, fittingly called the Titan — picture a large tractor that makes use of a trailer in lieu of a driver’s seat — uses machine vision to distinguish weeds from crops including leafy greens, cauliflower, artichokes, and tomatoes while snipping weeds with sub-inch precision.
Read more at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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