Rise of weedkilling robots
Carbon Robotics manufactures weed-killing robots that use lasers to burn up weeds and can destroy 100,000 weeds an hour. The machines have a myriad of environmental benefits - they help reduce soil disturbance, and enable farmers to reduce or even eradicate the use of herbicides. These agricultural robots can also be designed to perform tasks such as seeding, harvesting and environmental monitoring, and the global market for the robots is predicted to increase from $5.4bn in 2020 to more than $20bn by 2026. However, there are still challenges to wider-scale adoption. Many places might not have battery recharge stations available, resulting in the robots using diesel for power, which itself produces harmful emissions. The robots are also quite expensive, and these farming start-ups may need to consider service models, i.e. selling a weeding service instead of selling the robots itself.