|When you are just growing food for your family, the amount of land
needed is relatively small. You can take the time to monitor and care
for each crop, weeding and fertilizing on a regular basis. When you are
growing thousands of acres, however, it is impossible to remove all
weeds by hand. That is why most commercial agricultural operations make
ample use of herbicides, which, however, are harmful to the environment.
But now start-up Blue River Technology is developing a weed-seeking
robot. For the past few years, Blue River Technology has been working on
what they call 'organic weed elimination'. Instead of relying on
herbicides, the company envisions flocks of autonomous robots that could
be programmed to travel up and down crop rows, removing weeds by 'hand'.
Once it hunts down a weed, the bot injects enough fertiliser to kill it.
So far, the company has produced a few prototypes. The rolling robot
uses computer vision technology to evaluate the plants as it passes by,
using algorithms to detect and differentiate between plants that are
right next to each other.