The robot killer than can take out weeds with a single jet blast of chemical

Daily Mail

In a field of sugar beet in Switzerland, a solar-powered robot that looks like a table on wheels scans the rows of crops with its camera, identifies weeds and zaps them with jets of blue liquid from its mechanical tentacles. Undergoing final tests before the liquid is replaced with weedkiller, the Swiss robot is one of new breed of AI weeders that investors say could disrupt the $100billion pesticides and seeds industry by reducing the need for universal herbicides and the genetically modified (GM) crops that tolerate them. Dominated by companies such as Bayer, DowDuPont, BASF and Syngenta, the industry is bracing for the impact of digital agricultural technology and some firms are already adapting their business models. Herbicide sales are worth $26billion a year and account for 46 percent of pesticides revenue overall while 90 percent of GM seeds have some herbicide tolerance built in, according to market researcher Phillips McDougall. 'Some of the profit pools that are now in the hands of the big agrochemical companies will shift, partly to the farmer and partly to the equipment manufacturers,' said Cedric Lecamp, who runs the $1billion Pictet-Nutrition fund that invests in companies along the food supply chain.


Robots fight weeds in challenge to agrochemical giants

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YVERDON-LES-BAINS, Switzerland/CHICAGO (Reuters) - In a field of sugar beet in Switzerland, a solar-powered robot that looks like a table on wheels scans the rows of crops with its camera, identifies weeds and zaps them with jets of blue liquid from its mechanical tentacles. Undergoing final tests before the liquid is replaced with weedkiller, the Swiss robot is one of new breed of AI weeders that investors say could disrupt the $100 billion pesticides and seeds industry by reducing the need for universal herbicides and the genetically modified (GM) crops that tolerate them. Dominated by companies such as Bayer, DowDuPont, BASF and Syngenta, the industry is bracing for the impact of digital agricultural technology and some firms are already adapting their business models. Herbicide sales are worth $26 billion a year and account for 46 percent of pesticides revenue overall while 90 percent of GM seeds have some herbicide tolerance built in, according to market researcher Phillips McDougall. "Some of the profit pools that are now in the hands of the big agrochemical companies will shift, partly to the farmer and partly to the equipment manufacturers," said Cedric Lecamp, who runs the $1 billion Pictet-Nutrition fund that invests in companies along the food supply chain.


Will weed-zapping AI robots disrupt market for herbicides and GMO seeds? Genetic Literacy Project

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In a field of sugar beet in Switzerland, a solar-powered robot that looks like a table on wheels scans the rows of crops with its camera, identifies weeds and zaps them with jets of blue liquid from its mechanical tentacles. Undergoing final tests before the liquid is replaced with weedkiller, the Swiss robot is one of new breed of AI weeders that investors say could disrupt the $100 billion pesticides and seeds industry by reducing the need for universal herbicides and the genetically modified (GM) crops that tolerate them. Dominated by companies such as Bayer, DowDuPont, BASF and Syngenta, the industry is bracing for the impact of digital agricultural technology and some firms are already adapting their business models. Herbicide sales are worth $26 billion a year and account for 46 percent of pesticides revenue overall while 90 percent of GM seeds have some herbicide tolerance built in, according to market researcher Phillips McDougall. The company said it is close to signing a financing round with investors and is due to go on the market by early 2019.


A Swiss weedkiller robot could curb our dependence on herbicides

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Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a Roomba-like robot that can tend to crops autonomously. At Carnegie Mellon, they're building a suite of A.I. and drones to take on some of agriculture's most demanding tasks. And just last year, a team of automated machines farmed an acre and a half of barley, from planting to harvesting, without a single human setting foot on the field. A Swiss company called ecoRobotix recently unveiled its contribution to automated agriculture -- a robotic weed-killing machine. The four-wheeled robot doesn't look like much more than a mobile table top, but Reuters reports that the unassuming machine may reshape the way we approach agriculture.


Robots Are Growing Tons of Our Food. Here's the Creepy Part.

Mother Jones

You don't see self-driving cars taking over American cities yet, but robotic tractors already roar through our corn and soybean farms, helping to plant and spray crops. They also gather huge troves of data, measuring moisture levels in the soil and tracking unruly weeds. Combine that with customized weather forecasts and satellite imagery, and farmers can now make complex decisions like when to harvest--without ever stepping outside. These tools are part of a new trend, known as "precision agriculture," that is transforming how we grow crops. Using everything from sensors on combines to drones equipped with infrared cameras that monitor plant health, service providers--ranging from Monsanto and DuPont to startups--take data from the fields, upload it to the cloud, crunch it, and provide farmers with advice on how to run their operations.