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FarmWise and Roush to develop weeding robots

FarmWise and Roush are to develop and test autonomous vegetable weeders in the state of Michigan (US).

The initial contract between FarmWise, builder of adaptive robots for agriculture, and Roush, a full-service product development supplier headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, includes the development of a dozen of prototypes of the self-driving robots in 2019, with scaling to additional units in 2020.

High-precision weeding and thinning

The autonomous farming robots are to provide high-precision weeding and thinning with the ability to replace herbicides, save cost on labor and increase yield. They will also work reliably around the clock, 24/7, and adapt seamlessly to different crops, improving farming efficiency altogether, according to FarmWise.

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Thomas Palomares, co-founder and chief technology officer of Silicon Valley-based startup FarmWise, said there are many reasons why his company chose the Michigan manufacturer Roush to develop its autonomous robots.

Advanced technology expertise

“Michigan is well-known throughout the world for its manufacturing and automotive industries, the advanced technology expertise and state-of-the-art manufacturing practices,” Palomares said.

“These are many of the key ingredients we need to manufacture and test our machines. We were connected to Roush through support from PlanetM, and as a technology startup, joining forces with a large and well-respected legacy automaker is critical to support the scale of our manufacturing plan.”

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The autonomous farming robots are to provide high-precision weeding and thinning with the ability to replace herbicides, save cost on labor and increase yield. - Photos: FarmWise
The autonomous farming robots are to provide high-precision weeding and thinning with the ability to replace herbicides, save cost on labor and increase yield. - Photos: FarmWise

Create efficiencies

“Technology is rapidly transforming every industry across the globe,” said Roush CEO Evan Lyall. “The agricultural industry may be one of the most in need to make bold new advances to create efficiencies and produce safer products for consumers.”

“We work with the best engineers to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-life products as we test these robots in the field. We‘re proud to support industry pioneers like FarmWise to solve the burning issues farmers face while building the new paradigm for the future of food production.”

Also read: How robotic weeders are set to revolutionise farming

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