The German company Bosch has developed a robot capable of identifying weeds and stamping them into the ground. The scientific breakthrough is a result of research done by Bosch's Deerfield Robotics division, Osnabrück University, and Amazone.
While a green-thumbed gardener might mosey through the rows of their garden and pull out any unwanted weeds, the speed at which the robot can identify targets and stamp them into the ground is almost too fast to witness, reports Popular Mechanics.
BoniRob is about the size of a small car and uses the same type of laser-radar vision system that Google's self-driving cars use to navigate the world.
When it travels through a field in search of weeds, it uses a device about 1 cm (0.4 inches) wide to stamp undesired plants into the ground.
No doubt, the machine could revolutionize the future of agriculture as it removes the need for modern farmers to rely upon herbicides to control weeds, reports Quartz. In fact, BoniRob is capable of killing nearly two weeds a second. Its accuracy is also uncanny.
When BoniRob was given tests in a carrot patch, it stamped out about 90% of the weeds.
The robot is programmed by being shown pictures of leaves from plants farmers want to harvest, as well as weeds. Using machine learning – a type of artificial intelligence that allows it to make decisions based on what it has been shown – it applies its knowledge to the task at hand and crushes weeds it has been asked to kill.
The more the machine is programmed, the better its learning systems get. BoniRob also refines its notion of what each of the weeds is, therefore, gets a little better at its job each time it is given a task.