A prototype of a new self-propelled sprayer is currently being tested to eliminate individual broad-leaved dock plants in grassland with spot spraying. The technology is called AiCPlus and it was developed by Dutch sprayer manufacturer Agrifac.
The company, part of French Exel Industries Group, developed a technology to detect individual broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) plants with 12 cameras and eliminate them by opening individual nozzles of the 36 m wide spray boom. The system has a machine learning element that enables it to improve itself in detecting and recognising broad-leaved dock plants.
The 2 contractors that are testing the machine say it can be operated at normal speeds and that the technology saves over 90% of chemicals. This saving is supposed to compensate for the extra cost of the technology making it equally expensive for (dairy) farmers as a common full field application.
Agrifac says the technology is capable of learning to recognise a new type of weed in just one growing season. These will include dandelions (grassland), couch-grass (Elymus repens) and potato remains in sugar beets. For Australia, future applications include wild oats and horseradish.
Type: self-propelled sprayer
Key feature: automatic detection and elimination of individual weeds in cultivated crops