Meet ‘Tom’: The weed-spotting robot that could slash blanket herbicide spraying

| | December 10, 2019
weed robot
Image: Philip Mynott/PA Wire
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A National Trust estate farm has brought in a robot called Tom to map its weeds. The robot’s mapping capability allows operators to target herbicides more accurately, ending the need for blanket spraying with chemicals.

Tom is fitted with two downward-facing cameras and has sensors to detect obstacles as it trundles around. Powered by electricity, with a four-hour battery life, the 150kg prototype can map 50 acres per day.

Callum Weir, farm manager at the Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire, said the robot cuts fuel, fertilizer and herbicide costs – and benefits the environment too.

As Tom weighs far less than a traditional seven-tonne tractor, soils also suffer less compaction, he said. “The beauty of the robot is that it gives me absolute precision,” said Mr Weir.

Related article:  New study hyping health benefits of organic food is more marketing than science, biologist argues

Read full, original article: Every farmer will need a Tom, Dick and Harry robot in their fields

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