I would see the drones being used to help map weed concentration and optimize the route/efficiency of the weed killing robot

Y Hacker News

Arrath 44 days ago
I would see the drones being used to help map weed concentration and optimize the route/efficiency of the weed killing robot, not using drones to kill the weeds.
There are already solutions that use drone photogrammetry to map crop health, ground coverage and so on. It feels like a logical next step to use a drone to assist mapping the best route/find problem areas to target for the weed-roomba.

delfinom 44 days ago
>I would see the drones being used to help map weed concentration and optimize the route/efficiency of the weed killing robot, not using drones to kill the weeds.
That’s a ridiculous solution to a non-existent problem. The robot literally has no rush to go to the weeds. It can crawl along the field by itself 24/7. Throw in a solar panel charging station and you literally have free energy for it to piss away.

Instead you want to add complexity to the setup, increase maintenance costs and potentially shorten the lifespan of the system.

jcims 43 days ago
It’s not ridiculous at all, hours count. I haven’t looked at the article, but I’m assuming it’s the same machine, it’s a 10,000 pound unit with tiny little tires and a 75 hp diesel engine. It’s going to compact the soil, get stuck, and waste fuel driving around looking for weeds.
If sending a 20 pound gas drone with a 2 TB solid-state drive and 60 FPS 4K camera on it up and down the field for one 100th of the fuel consumption once a week saves 500 hours a year off that beast, it’d probably be worth it.

Melting_Harps 43 days ago
> It’s going to compact the soil, get stuck, and waste fuel driving around looking for weeds.
This true of any modern farming equipment, which is why planting strategy is so critical–I kept messing up in my first year as I was going way too fast instead of taking my time and my planted rows were never straight, it was in a green house and we had an old diesel tractor so my lungs were hurting after the first hour and I just compromised on that aspect.

But then when I had to go back and weed, maintain and eventually harvest the oddly planted fields of salads and potatoes I made sure to follow the natural ebb and flow of the soil compaction, which was there even after it was tilled.

What I’m saying is that the compacted soil can help you in later seasons to maintain the direction of growth so it’s not entirely a bad thing to have. And unless you farmed the same fields for several seasons/years you would overlook this as a net benefit. Eventually seasoned farm hands can do it while drinking and smoking and just listening to how the engine is struggling without even touching the steering wheel, they can even get out of the tractor and walk ahead of it as it’s crawling forward to check if everything is fine. Where as for apprentices like myself who had no real experience in Ag it was a remarkable discovery that one shouldn’t overlook.

Also, drones are already widely in use; they monitor temperature and moisture in real time and a offer other services right now [0]. Their is a company that I found that posted here on YC a few years ago that offers this as a service [1].

I was actually going to get my commercial drone’s license a couple month’s before I retired as a farm manager in Hawaii due to extensive injuries, but my fintech startup required saving and scraping all my pennies to afford getting it off the ground. I might consider getting it again as things start to be more widely deployed and the costs keep coming down and I still would like to be involved in some capacity in Ag.

IanCal 43 days ago
That does depend on how much area it can cover per day.
If it covers all your land in under a day, sure. If not, then route planning may mean you can have one rather than two or more of these very expensive machines.

It’s not a drasticly complex addition, and mapping weeds with drones appears to be a use of them already.

flukus 43 days ago
> That does depend on how much area it can cover per day.
This assumes weeding is a time sensitive task, which I find very doubtful. Realistically covering your land area in a week is probably enough, but maybe that’s much higher.

kickout 43 days ago
Ok thank you. Common sense on non-programming topics on HN is more rare than I would like. You clearly understand the problem better than most

silasb 43 days ago
Tethered drones might work.

Priva And Viessmann Join Forces To Accelerate The Development Of Smart Building And Green Tech Solutions

Priva and Viessmann, a leading international provider of climate solutions for residential and commercial environments, join forces in a strategic family partnership.

Both companies see great potential and opportunities for global synergies in serving customers together through an unprecedented combined tech-driven solution offering – from commercial building owners and operators to smart district and city solutions, adapting the climate and energy predictively to users’ needs.

To underline the long-term nature of this partnership, Viessmann has acquired a minority interest in Priva. This allows Priva to accelerate its innovative technology agenda and international growth, yet remain an independent family business. Viessmann can rapidly develop its climate solutions for commercial buildings and explore horticultural environment business opportunities.

In addition to their similar family business culture, Viessmann and Priva share a vision of how their solutions can make a profound and pragmatic impact on the current climate crisis and change the world for the better.

Both companies believe that partnerships, networks and smart ecosystems are crucial in providing the range and breadth of solutions needed to address the important issues of global warming, energy transition and food security in the world.

Meiny Prins, CEO of Priva: “We are a purpose-driven company. We are proud to offer innovative and sustainable solutions, which benefit our customers and society. We feel strengthened by Viessmann’s recognition of our vision and technology. Joining forces with Viessmann is an important next step towards fulfilling our ambition. It makes us both stronger while it maintains our independence and company values. This is an unprecedented opportunity for creating a climate for growth together.”

Maximilian Viessmann, Co-CEO of Viessmann: “Our purpose is to create living spaces for generations to come: sustainable, CO2-free and clean environments for living, working and recreation. Our partnership with Priva will enable both companies to substantially expand the breadth and variety of solutions we can offer and the customers that we serve. It is a big privilege to drive digital and climate-centric solutions forward as two like-minded, strong and tech-driven family businesses.”

About Viessmann

Viessmann is the leading provider of climate solutions for all living spaces. The ‘Integrated Viessmann Solutions Offering’ enables users to connect products and systems seamlessly via digital platforms and services for climate (heating, cooling, air quality) and refrigeration solutions. All solutions are based on renewable energy and maximum efficiency. All activities of the family company, founded in 1917, are based on its purpose. “We create living spaces for generations to come” – that is the responsibility of the global Viessmann family with 12,750 members.

Farming Robot Kills 100,000 Weeds per Hour With Lasers

By Kristin Houser

A person can weed about one acre of crops a day. This smart robot can weed 20.

Carbon Robotics has unveiled the third-generation of its Autonomous Weeder, a smart farming robot that identifies weeds and then destroys them with high-power lasers.

The weedkiller challenge: Weeds compete with plants for space, sunlight, and soil nutrients. They can also make it easier for insect pests to harm crops, so weed control is a top concern for farmers.

Chemical herbicides can kill the pesky plants, but they can also contaminate water and affect soil health. Weeds can be pulled out by hand, but it’s unpleasant work, and labor shortages are already a huge problem in the agriculture industry.

“It’s harder to find people to do that work every single year,” vegetable farmer Shay Myers told the Seattle Times.

The Autonomous Weeder kills weeds without harming soil or water, and it operates autonomously, eliminating the reliance on manual laborers.

How it works: The farming robot looks like a large cube on wheels.

As it drives itself down rows of crops, its 12 cameras scan the ground. An onboard computer, powered by AI, identifies weeds, and the robot’s carbon dioxide lasers then zap and kill the plants.

The Autonomous Weeder can eliminate more than 100,000 weeds per hour and weed 15 to 20 acres of crops in one day — for comparison, Myers said a laborer can weed about one acre of his onions per day.

Big money machine: Myers expects the farming robot to pay for itself in two to three years, but it does come with a hefty price tag: Carbon Robotics’ CEO Paul Mikesell told the Seattle Times it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars (he declined to provide an exact price).

That’s not an unheard of price range for agriculture equipment, but it could still put the robot out of reach for many farmers, though leasing options are available.

Even farmers who can afford to buy the robot might not be able to get their hands on one for some time — Carbon Robotics has already sold out of the bots it had available for 2021 delivery.

Happy customers: Those who have managed to get their hands on the farming robot appear pleased with its performance, though.

“This is one of the most innovative and valuable technologies that I’ve seen as a farmer,” James Johnson of New Mexico’s Carzalia Farm said in a press release.

“I expect the robots to go mainstream because of how effectively they address some of farming’s most critical issues, including the overuse of chemicals, process efficiency, and labor,” he added.

Cannabis Cultivation for the Space Age: Automated Crop Logistic and Robotics

canabis tech
by Jessica McKeil

Cannabis cultivation is permeated with technological innovations for a future that is closer than people think

The future of agriculture isn’t as far off as some may imagine, robots in greenhouses are not just an idea pulled from science fiction novels. Robotic farmers and total greenhouse automation have already been working their way through the rows of crops across North America for some time now, and they are just about to break into the cannabis industry in a big way.

A robotic takeover of the marijuana industry shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the technological advances the industry has made in only a few short years. Many forget that only a decade ago, recreational cannabis was a taboo subject, with farmers focusing on secrecy instead of tech upgrades. Today, marijuana is a multi-billion dollar industry in North America alone. It’s already setting records as a cash crop, with profits helping to fund technological innovations which push boundaries of conventional cultivation.

Automation is Already Working its Way Into the Greenhouse
Automation in cannabis may come as less of a shock than full-on robotics. Many medium to large size commercial operations already rely on some level of automation to manage the logistics of growing. Companies like Priva are working with businesses to take manual management out of the cultivation process. Priva designs systems for greenhouses which eliminate the need for constant human monitoring for vital systems like irrigation, lighting, CO2, to temperature.

Most systems, such as Priva’s line of automation designs, give the grower real-time control over the crop. Routine climate adjustments are automatically managed through pre-determined algorithms and comprehensive sensory systems. Priva allows growers to take a step back from micromanaging a crop with zone-by-zone data collection, and analysis. Priva design systems where a farmer can “view, manipulate, modify and make decisions in real time on factors influencing their greenhouse climate, irrigation and heat management operations.”

Priva is by no means one of the only companies injecting automation into indoor cannabis operations. Braingrid, Urban Grow, and others are making names for themselves in automated greenhouse climate control and data-driven grows. These systems are paving the way for full-blown robotics entering into the field and into the grow room.

Introducing Robots into the Grow Room
Where do robots fit into the modern cannabis operation? If you envision an army of helpful robots weeding and hoeing as they move through the grow, you wouldn’t be that far off. Naio Technologies already has a team of four robots in their small army, working their way through the rows of crops, quickly weeding and turning soil so that employees can focus on more crucial and complicated tasks. They currently have four models (Oz, Bob, Ted, and Dino), two of which are specifically targeted to the wine industry. In one hour, a small machine like their Oz model can weed 1000 meters of a crop, perhaps more efficiently and proficiently than a workforce of unskilled labor.

It makes sense that companies like Niao, with robots already adapted to a vineyard, will eventually turn their attention to cannabis. Both indoor and outdoor cannabis operations could expect both financial and productivity gains from a team of robots taking over the many mundane, repetitive tasks in marijuana cultivation.

Even if robot weeders don’t fit into your vision for the future of cannabis farming, there are other systems focused on indoor grow room logistics which may seem more realistic today. Stackable, space-saving designs are increasingly used in the industry to maximize the productivity of the grow room, but what about if integrated robotics and automation made each plant accessible and more productive?

Hove has a long history designing custom solutions for the greenhouse industry, solutions which have naturally gravitated to the cannabis industry. They have developed a system of rolling cannabis trays, called the Cannabench System, which maximizes space, improves operational efficiencies, reduce labor costs, and raise profits.

Importantly, they have adapted to the systems already used in cannabis. Their specialty space saving rolling trays integrate seamlessly with ebb and flow trays, trellis systems, as well as with adjustable heights so that workers are always working at an optimal height.

With robots already making their way through the rows of other greenhouse crops, they will surely be moving into the cannabis industry soon. Automation will also likely take over commercial spaces, becoming the norm, rather than the exception. With the level of investment flooding the industry, and open access spreading globally, cannabis cultivation is filled with technological innovations straight out of the future.