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Communications of the ACM

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Mobile Weed Killer for Tree Nurseries

The autonomous caterpillar vehicle AMU-Bot drives between the rows of a tree nursery and removes any weeds.

Researchers described the AMU-Bot platform ss economical, robust, easy to operate, and highly efficient.

Credit: Federal Office of Agriculture and Food/Fraunhofer

Researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA partnered with Bosch and KommTek to develop a mobile robot system that tree nurseries could deploy to remove weeds without the use of herbicides.

The AMU-Bot, an autonomous caterpillar robot equipped with optical sensors, removes weeds with rotary harrows as it drives between rows of saplings.

It uses LiDAR scanners to generate a three-dimensional (3D) point cloud of its environment to determine the positions of plants or trees, and to navigate the area.

Fraunhofer's Kevin Bregler described weed removal as "rather complex. There are various approaches that can be taken: grubbing, cutting, hoeing, flaming, or treating the weeds with herbicides. However, herbicides are no longer popular, especially in ecological agriculture and for tree nurseries or orchards.

"Our method completely avoids the use of chemicals."

From Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Germany)
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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