Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany are working in a system which would automatically identify weeds and then destroy them using a short laser pulse.
Dr. Julio Pastrana and Tim Wigbels from the Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformation at the University of Bonn are currently developing a novel system which uses cameras on an all-terrain robot vehicle, or which could be mounted on a tractor add-on. They say that unwanted weed species should be automatically identified in a variety of crops and treated in a targeted way.
“The robot shoots the leaves of the unwanted plants with short laser pulses, which causes a weakening in their vitality,” reports Dr. Pastrana.
“We predict that we will no longer need to use herbicides on our fields and the environment will be protected,” adds Wigbels. “It is now a case of finding investors and further developing the business plan for the start-up.”
The researchers are now developing a new start-up company ‘Escarda Technologies’ for one year at the University of Bonn with an EXIST grant from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, and the researchers are also using the funding to buy the parts needed to construct a prototype.
Photo Caption: Tim Wigbels (left) and Dr. Julio Pastrana (right) with their weed recognition software which is detecting a plant and how the laser system is shooting and damage its foliage.
Photo Credit: Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn