Farmdroid, the autonomous seeding and weeding robot, began working Canadian soils in 2022.
The solar-powered robots first landed in Canada with the ability to seed 30 different crops, including sugar beets and a range of vegetables. In this report from Agritechnica 23 at Hanover, Germany, FarmDroid’s Eddie Pederson notes that the evolving robot will now come equipped with spot spraying capabilities.
“The whole concept with the robot is that it will do the seeding first… and then afterwards, it remembers the position of each individual seed and can then go on to do the weeding both between the rows and in the row, between the pants,” says Pederson. But new FarmDroids displayed this year at Agritechnica, with the addition of a camera system, will allow farmers to plant, weed and spot spray.
In the video below, Pederson notes that the Farmdroid, which comes in a six-row configuration, with the hopper on each row unit having the capacity to carry about 2.5 acres of sugar beet seeds, has total seeding capacity of about 15 acres before refill is required. He adds that the unit can run continuously and will plant 15 acres a day. The robot runs at a similar daily capacity for weed removal, including both mechanical removal and spot spraying.
Pederson says solar energy is enough to keep the robot running during the daytime, even if it’s a cloudy day. “If it’s a sunny day, the robot will run 24 hours a day only on solar. When the sun goes down, it will just start running off the batteries.”
Pederson says Farmdroid has focused mainly on organic sugar beet, onion and vegetable production in Europe, but the addition of spot spraying capabilities will allow the company to look at more conventional crops, which could include moving into corn and soybeans. See the video below.
RealAgriculture’s coverage of Agritechnica is brought to you by Optimum GLY, a new canola trait technology from Corteva Agriscience.