Dick, an agro-based robot with its peers Tom and Harry, kills weeds on farming land in England with electricity and no chemicals. The mission is to identify and zap weeds to clear the soil before planting.
Small Robot Company, a UK-based startup is working on these agrobots since 2017 and are on a mission to revolutionize the use of technology to create food. The company started understanding the pain points of the current farming system by interviewing a large number of farmers before heading on to develop an effective AI-driven robotic service.
Tom is the first Bot on the show that scans up to 20 hectares of land in a day. Dick is an autonomous killer who uses data from Tom to Zap the weeds with absolutely no chemicals but electricity. Small Robot has collaborated with RootWave, another UK-based startup that owns the Electricide™ technology that uses electricity to boil the weeds from the roots. Then finally comes robot Harry that plants seeds in the clear soil.
But wait! There is someone else on the back screen – Wilma. The mastermind, Artificial Intelligence. Wilma uses the data from Tom and converts them into crop-care instructions. Farm owners can look at the instructions and alter their decisions based on several other conditions.
The necessity of a chemical-free solution is not just because of the high usage of pesticides globally. But there is something even interesting. The International Herbicide-Resistant Weed Database reports that there are around 263 species of herbicide-resistant weeds globally.
While electrifying the weeds seems to be an acceptable solution, large-scale adoption looks to be a concern. The global food needs are high. We hope the future improvements in the system will answer those concerns as well.