Small Robot Company launches farmbot AI “Wilma”

20.11.2020

The brains behind Small Robot Company’s team of agri-robots was launched last week. The company said its newly named robot Wilma will provide “per plant intelligence” to underpin a new approach of chemical-free farming conducted by its three existing robots Tom, Dick and Harry.

Under the system, Tom scans crops, Dick has the ability to kill any weed electronically, while Harry can precision drill the next crop. The robots are being trialled on three farms in the UK, said Ben Scott-Robinson, CEO and co-found of Small Robot Company.

Wilma “creates a per-plant crop map and is then AI-enabled to recognize disease and the nutrient status of the plant, enabling precision weeding by the farmbots and, in the future, application of water, nutrients or fungicide as appropriate – cutting chemical use and emissions,” said Scott-Robinson. “Wilma can direct Dick on the most effective course across the field. The robot then kills the weeds, such as blackgrass, using the Rootwave technology, which is electric so there is no problem with resistance.”

Scott-Robinson added that the ability to quickly kill weeds as they appear means farmers don’t need to wait to drill and can take the opportunity to get crops started in early autumns better weather. The company’s lightweight farmbot Harry will also be equipped to precision drill with damaging the soil.

Small Robot Company raised £1.1 million in a recent crowdfunding campaign. The company said its supporters are farmers eager for the technology to become commercially available and have also been involved in testing the technology helping to ensure it is farm ready.

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