A solar-powered robot with stereo vision and a GPS guidance system may one day be moving up and down the crop rows of farms. Created by Hong Young Tian, this robot has the potential to control weeds while significantly reducing herbicide use.
The robot uses an on-board computer to access information to help determine what is and isn't a weed. Once a weed is identified, a robotic arm attached to the front of the machine cuts the weed and then applies herbicide to the cut weed.
"This type of application is extremely effective, because it applies herbicide directly to the plant, instead of broadcasting uniform rates across a field. With this level of precision, the system has clear environmental benefits. In addition to cutting herbicide use, chemicals do not drift off-target when placed directly on the plants." said Tian.At this time there are no commercial plans for the machine. While this may not be the ultimate solution in some peoples mind, it's at least a much better alternative.
Source: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
technorati tags:Robot Weed Killer, Hong Young Tian, University of Illinois