Autonomous Robots Could Help Manage Weeds

Scientists at the University of Illinois are already building and selling autonomous, 3-D-printed robots that move up and down field rows under the crop canopy to collect crop data, reports Western Farmer-Stockman. Now they’re working on adapting these robots with soft arms that would allow them to mechanically de-weed a field, or potentially harvest fruit. Project leader Girish Chowdhary says the work is motivated by a growing herbicide-resistant weed problem in agriculture, and comments that the small equipment could have particular applicability for organic and specialty-crop farmers.