After years of development since 2018, Dutch startup Odd.Bot is set to enter the market in 2024 with a field-ready weeding robot named Maverick. The startup recently secured additional funding of € 2.6 million from Europe through the EIC Accelerator to bring the third prototype, the autonomous Maverick, to market.
Odd.Bot plans to deliver three to four units for the 2024 season at a purchase price ranging from € 90,000 to € 120,000, depending on the configuration. Each robot is expected to weed approximately one hectare per day and is trained to work with three crops: carrots, onions, and chicory.
Autonomy means that the four-wheeled vehicle navigates purely based on vision and follows crop rows during weeding, capable of working autonomously without external navigation signals. Turning at the headlands is achieved by pre-programming the distance traveled and the rotation of the vehicle to the next crop row. An interesting feature is that the weeding robot periodically reverses during weeding to inspect the weeding result, providing feedback to the user or Odd.Bot’s technical support service to adjust settings, if necessary.
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The vehicle frame is constructed of steel, with aluminum paneling, measuring 205 centimeters in length, 170 centimeters in width, and 155 centimeters in height. Power comes from two interchangeable lithium battery packs, providing enough energy for 16 hours of operation for both driving the rear wheels and powering the weeding elements. Additionally, four spare batteries can be carried. The Maverick can accommodate up to three weeding arms, allowing it to weed three crop rows simultaneously. The AI-driven three-armed weeding elements pick up weeds in the crop row and place them next to it to prevent regrowth.
Odd.Bot also intends to sell the AI vision-controlled weeding elements separately under the name Odd.Bot Weader, for attachment to a three-point frame behind a standard tractor, for example. According to the makers, installation is straightforward, following a plug-and-play approach; each robot element contains all the necessary components to function and primarily requires power. Each element is estimated to cost around € 45,000.