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Naïo Dino robot able to weed between lettuce

Naïo Technologies is awarded a silver medal at Agritechnica for its inter-plant weed control solution.

French company Naïo Technologies has equipped its Dino robot with an inter-plant weed control solution.

It is composed of a crop detection system below the robot that uses deep learning technologies. Thanks to prior learning and training, the machine is able to recognise and distinguish lettuces whatever their colour, variety and stage of growth.

Combination of cameras and GPS

By using a combination of cameras and a GPS tracking system, Dino is able to determine the location of plants with precision and in real time as it passes over the beds.

It then just has to start the active tool with which it is now equipped, since it knows exactly in space and time, when to open and close the knives so as to weed as close as possible to the plant without damaging it.

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Although up until now Dino was a mechanical robot devoted to inter-row weed control, it is now designed as a robot for autonomous crop management. - Photos: Naïo Technologies
Although up until now Dino was a mechanical robot devoted to inter-row weed control, it is now designed as a robot for autonomous crop management. - Photos: Naïo Technologies

According to Naïo Technologies hoeing is more effective, partly thanks to the precise weed control offered by crop-mapping and also thanks to the knives, the movement of which is smoother because of the accurate electric operating system.

Advantages

The French manufacturer says the solution goes much further. “Because it equips a robot that offers farmers many advantages: electrically powered and with a very precise autonomous guidance system, it does not emit any greenhouse gases, requires very little maintenance, and is equipped with an extremely advanced security system. Lightweight, it has also been designed to avoid earth compaction. Thanks to its autonomy, the actual investment it represents is lower in view of the cost – and shortage – of a qualified workforce that would be necessary for a tractor equipped with a hoe.”

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  • Thanks to prior learning and training, the machine is able to recognise and distinguish lettuces whatever their colour, variety and stage of growth.

    Thanks to prior learning and training, the machine is able to recognise and distinguish lettuces whatever their colour, variety and stage of growth.

  • By using a combination of cameras and a GPS tracking system, Dino is able to determine the location of plants with precision and in real time as it passes over the beds.

    By using a combination of cameras and a GPS tracking system, Dino is able to determine the location of plants with precision and in real time as it passes over the beds.

Autonomous crop management

Although up until now Dino was a mechanical robot devoted to inter-row weed control, it is now designed as a robot for autonomous crop management. It weeds around plants helping to better control grass cover and the seed stock for the following years.

“Apart from precision weeding, the crop detection system opens up many new opportunities for farmers, especially in terms of data acquisition, with potential applications such as plant counting, lettuce size appraisal, the estimation of harvest dates, and even for future thinning actions, localised fertilisation, and all other targeted actions; as well as the potential use of this technology for other crops,” says Naïo Technologies.

The global solution equipping this first prototype will be deployed from 2020 on Naïo’s partner farmers’ Dino robots.

The tweet below shows the ‘old’ Dino working on lettuce fields in California, with star-toothed harrows.

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