Laser Weeder “Death Rays” Kill Weeds 80x Faster Than Humans. Will It Work In Gardens?

The day where farmers spray weeds in farm crops is coming to an end. And that could be good news for gardeners. This article looks at the potential for the garden laser weeder.

The Development of Laser Weeder

Seattle based Carbon Robotics recently developed the first LaserWeeder. It utilises AI, computer vision, deep learning, and high-powered lasers to eliminate weeds in fields.

A Laser Weeder zaps every weed and leaves the crop plants unharmed.

The traditional approaches to weed control, such as manual labour and herbicides, are becoming less effective due to herbicide resistance in weeds, prompting the need for innovative solutions like LaserWeeder. The day when armies of people went chopping cotton, that’s weeding out the weeds and excess cotton plants to you and me, disappeared when sprays were able to kill the weeds. And we are now entering an era when robots lasers can weed faster ands cheaper than sprays can kill weeds.

Carbon Robotics has allegedely built the world’s first and only LaserWeeder, incorporating advanced technologies to combat the challenges of weed control effectively. though others might argue that it’s the first. Austrian company SPL (Service für Präzisions-Landwirtschaft) is were working on the concept as long ago as 2017 with a laser weeder there called Jäti. 

Operational Mechanism of LaserWeeder

The LaserWeeder operates by utilising high-resolution cameras and AI to detect and track weeds in real-time, enabling precise targeting for the laser beams. It’s a bit like the apps we use on our phones to identify plants … but faster and with a killer laser attachment!

The laser beam emitted by the LaserWeeder destroys weeds by explosively rupturing their cell membranes and walls using thermal energy. Another way of putting that is tha tthey cook the weed in the field.

“That laser beam kills these weeds through thermal energy that explodes the cell membranes and the cell walls of the weeds.”

Carbon Robotics

Laser Technology Explanation

The laser in LaserWeeder involves running electricity through a gas mix, creating plasma that generates particles bouncing between mirrors to form a laser beam.

The laser’s lasting power allows extended continuous operation, making it a sustainable and efficient weed control tool.

“As we run electricity into that mix of gases, it excites and creates a plasma… That is a laser beam.”

Carbon Robotics

Farmer’s Response to LaserWeeder

Farmers like Josh Roberts are enthusiastic about adopting LaserWeeder due to its non-chemical weed elimination method, offering an exciting and effective way to manage farm fields.

The sensory experience of witnessing the laser effectively destroying weeds apparently evokes a sense of victory and satisfaction among farmers.

“Initially, it hits you with a glaring sensory experience from your eyes… it smells like victory.”

US farmer

Advantages of Laser Weed Control

Laser technology allows for precise weeding, removing plants growing in between and in the rows while eliminating the need for chemical applications.

Human labour-intensive weed removal is physically challenging and can be a significant obstacle for farmers. Try finding the labour to weed fields by hand!

The speed and efficiency of laser weed control far surpasses manual labour, making the process 80 times faster than any human. and it doesn’t tire, need lunch breaks or holidays.

The Laser weeder is silent and can work night and day.

Environmental Benefits of Laser Weeder Control Methods

Laser technology can enable no-till farming practices, preserving topsoil and the nutrients essential for food production.

By targeting weeds precisely, lasers prevent topsoil erosion, which is crucial for sustaining agriculture and food sources.

This means less soil disturbance. It suits no till and min-till systems and increases the soil’s ability to sequester carbon.

“Technologies like this could enable no-till farming, and allow us to replenish that vital topsoil that literally feeds our entire civilization.”

US Farmer

Future Prospects of Laser Technology in Agriculture

The potential for laser technology, coupled with AI advancements, could possibly totally eliminate the need for chemical herbicides in farming.

As laser technology evolves to become more compact and versatile, its applications in agriculture are expected to expand considerably in the coming years.

The Future Of Laser Weeders

At present the laser weeders are tractor mounted. But in future I see a time when they will be self propelled and will work a bit like a robotic vacuum cleaner or grass mower can work in people’s homes.

The Future Of Laser Weeders in Gardens & Allotments

Robotic grass mowers were once a pipe dream. They would never be possible. Yet we now have them and they operate, autonomously, in several small gardens I know. Even the AirBNB I booked last year in France had one in the garden.

So, it seems obvious that we could soon see laser weeders being self propelled and smaller. And when that happens they could soon be seen in gardens. OK, they might be expensive to begin with, but there is always someone prepared to spend more than the rest of us.

Drone operated Laser weeder

And once that happens why can’t an allotment society buy one between them? Imagine dozens of allotments without a single weed on them. It’s not impossible.

And if you think that allotments are too cluttered with fences, and all the other paraphernalia of allotment life, think again. The future laser weeder might be on a long robotic arm able to reach into anywhere you could get a hoe. And they might even be able to be mounted on a drone, able to fly over fences, between bean poles and netting, and more than capable of seeking out and destroying every weed you have on your plot.

Laser Weeder, The Video!

Research Sources


https://www.researchgate.net/search/publication?q=Laser%20weeding

Tag: Laser Weeder

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