The ArvaTec MoonDino is able to autonomously carry out weeding and padding operations in rice fields, and is currently available in Europe.
The wheels of the robot have a special shape. They also act as weeding tools. The robot can be used for mechanical weeding immediately after sowing, on dry and submerged land, with the same precision. Because the robot can work continuously in a rice field, there is an additional advantage, according to ArvaTec. The water becomes cloudy, so weeds have less chance to grow.
The Swiss company, located in Lugano, developed the rice paddy robot together with SUPSI (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland) and Italian agtech company ARVAtec, specialised in GPS guidance.
The MoonDino is included in Future Farming’s robot catalogue with many other robot propositions farmers can buy, lease or hire in 2024.
Text continues below picture
MoonDino is built on a sturdy metal chassis made entirely from lightweight and durable aluminium alloy. The high torque 4×4 drivetrain gives MoonDino maximum traction, while up to 1200 watts of on-board power are available to manoeuvre out of the toughest situations. MoonDino uses GNSS RTK guidance, and offers complete safety protection thanks to the fusion of multiple sensors.
It is capable of 16 hours of autonomy in standard conditions, weatherproof and operates in all temperatures. It can cover on average one hectare per day. MoonDino does not leave space between the rows for weeds, and recognizes rice rows precisely thanks to sensors and GPS control. It has an output capacity of 1 hectare per day (on average). The robot has a 0-turning radius.
The robot runs autonomously and can stay in the field continuously. Its electric motor is powered by a battery, which is continuously being charged by solar panels with which the robot is equipped. In theory, a fleet of MoonDino robots could even supply energy to a farm when they are not used for cleaning and weeding rice fields.
The machine is currently priced at € 49,950 (US $ 52,810).