Mainebiz has an article about a small startup in Biddeford, Maine, that’s developing an autonomous robot for weeding crops. This seems a non-trivial problem (said a guy who occasionally uproots the things he’s trying to grow). They’re approaching it like this:
We’ve taken a different approach to most agricultural robots in that we’re not “looking” for the plants at all. Typically in small-scale farming, you mark your beds with where you want your team to plant seedlings or seeds. We’re taking over that process with the robot to mark the soil for the farmer, and we record the position where each plant should go with the GPS. Later, when we come back through with weeding tools, we weed everything between the known plant locations the same way a tractor would drive down a row of lettuces with a cultivator. It’s a different approach than scanning for plants and weeds with computer vision, but it’s essential to reducing costs and making this technology accessible to farmers.
You can read the whole story here.
Why Biddeford, you ask? It’s cheaper than Portland.