Odd.bot will soon be testing its weed recognising algorithms in the field. The startup from RoboValley has secured funding from Horizon, the regional development company of the Dutch province of Flevoland, for the proof-of-concept phase of the ‘Weed Whacker’ robot.
The company will assemble cameras on existing so-called weed beds to train the algorithms for the detection of weed. Weed beds are used for manually removing weed form farm land.
“Currently, farmers use herbicides, specially developed hoeing machines or manual labor to destroy weeds”, says Martijn Lukaart, founder of Odd.Bot. Both methods have disadvantages: tractors cause excessive CO2 emissions and soil compression because of their weight, while manual labor is very intensive and therefore expensive. “We saw this as a challenge to come up with a disruptive solution for autonomous weed control.”
“We saw this as a challenge to come up with a disruptive solution for autonomous weed control”
Martijn Lukaard (Odd.Bot)
Ger de Bruin, investment director at Horizon, says the Weed Whacker is an innovative robot that has the the potential to contribute to a more sustainable agricultural sector. “It is wonderful that the province of Flevoland will serve as a test area to speed up the launch of the Weed Whacker and then further develop it here.”
Odd.bot developed the Weed Whacker prototype in collaboration with RoboHouse and TU Delft Robotics Institute. Using the robot reduces the use of herbicides and enables farmers to grow healtier crops. The aim is to deploy the first robots on Dutch fields by 2020.
Click here to read the press release (in Dutch).