Laser weed removal will launch thousands of “Back in my day… ” stories about how older generations used to work the ground with their hands, pulling up weeds until they couldn’t feel their fingers.
… and sure, Grandpa, that’s great, but we’ll take the lasers.
Agtech startup Carbon Robotics continues to pick up steam with LaserWeeder, its high-tech farming machinery.
What is LaserWeeder?
A weed-obliteration machine that uses proprietary AI and computer vision technology for to-the-millimeter precision thinning of crop fields.
- There are 30 industrial lasers, tracking cameras, and a deep-learning model on board.
- It can kill ~200k weeds per hour.
- Weeding by thermal energy means no damage to plants or disturbance of soil.
For scale, the LaserWeeder is ~3 Shaquille O’Neals wide, ~2 Danny DeVitos long, and ~7 bowling pins tall.
Good luck finding a cooler yardwork hack
The first weeders sold out upon unveiling in 2022 — so far, the freshman class has combined to eliminate 500m+ weeds across 40 different crops.
Why farmers are on board:
- Herbicide-resistant weeds have tormented farmers for decades. Herbicides themselves are also a top cost (~$100/acre each year).
- LaserWeeder takes care of both in the long run, while also helping farms navigate their current labor shortage.
- Theoretically, it also drives chemical-free, no-till farming, which leads to higher yields of healthier, more organic crops.
Investors are on board, too:
- Even as VC trends against robotics, Carbon just raised another $30m. Since launching in 2018, it has raised $67m.
- Per GeekWire, Carbon believes laserweeding could be a $41B market.
Carbon will scale its machines (which reportedly cost between $25k-$50k) as it looks to grow across the US and Canada. As it does so, it will prep for European expansion.
Though, if we may make a suggestion, perhaps a laser whacker for our weed-riddled yards could come first?
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