Carbon Robotics launches new Track LaserWeeder system

Carbon Robotics announced its Track LaserWeeder at the World Ag Expo today. This version of the weeding implement is an extension of the company’s LaserWeeder.

It is designed to better carry the weight of the LaserWeeder in soft soils and mucky fields, said Carbon Robotics. When equipped with tracks rather than wheels, the machine only exerts a ground pressure of 6.5 psi.

What are the Seattle-based company‘s future plans for a fully autonomous version of the LaserWeeder?

“After discussions with farmers, we learned that a pull-behind implement that covered more acres would be a more effective method for them to integrate into their existing operations,” replied Paul Mikesell, founder and CEO of Carbon Robotics, to Mobile Robot Guide. “Carbon Robotics’ goal is to equip farmers with solutions that improve efficiencies, offer reliability, and are sustainable for long-term use.”

“As such, we work closely with farmers daily to understand their needs and how we can improve or adapt our offerings to better address them,” he said. “Our focus on a pull-behind implement is a direct representation of our commitment to supplying farmers with the tools that are best for them. If interest and demand for autonomous units increase in the future, we already have the technology proven in the field.”

view of the track underneath the new laserweeder.
The new tracks passively spread the weight of the LaserWeeder, making it easier to pull through soft soils. | Credit: Carbon Robotics

Carbon Robotics works with growers, design partners

Carbon Robotics built the Track LaserWeeder in collaboration with Soucy and GK Machine. They worked with growers to extend the system’s usability across diverse soil types, including muck soil. By equally distributing the LaserWeeder’s weight, the tracks minimize compaction and allow the machine to enter fields earlier in the season despite challenging conditions.

The first Track LaserWeeders are complete and staged for delivery beginning in March 2024.

“We are excited to introduce the new Track LaserWeeder unit and software upgrades that will further improve the efficiency and capabilities of our industry-leading LaserWeeder for growers,” said Mikesell. “Our customers laser weeded for more than 50,000 total hours last year across more than 100 different crops, capturing major savings in weed control costs and reporting substantial increases in crop yield and quality.”

LaserWeeder specs

  • Track LaserWeeder weight: 12,500 lb. (5,669.9 kg)
  • Track dimensions: 12 in. wide x 82 in. long (30.4 x 208.2 cm)
  • Ground pressure: 6.5 psi
  • Turning radius: 20 ft. (6 m)
  • Supported row spacing: 64 to 90 in. (162.5 to 228.6 cm)
  • Overall dimensions: 240 in. wide x 117 in. long x 106 in. high (609.6 x 297.1 x 269.2 cm)

“Custom tracks extend the versatility and flexibility of the LaserWeeder and open up laser weeding to more regions and farms with varying soil types,” added John Mey, vice president of product at Carbon Robotics. “By improving ground pressure to 6.5 p.s.i. and supporting row spacing of 64 to 90 in., growers in muck regions now can use LaserWeeder to do the work of a 75-person hand-weeding crew.”

Growers also now have an alternative to herbicides and can gain the production benefits resulting from not overly disrupting the soil, he said.

Carbon Robotics also introduced visualized spatial data that is available to all LaserWeeder customers. This offering allows growers to access field, crop, and weed metrics using the Carbon Ops Center, including stand count, density, type, average size, and distribution.

The data allows growers to identify and address areas with inconsistencies or surprising results and provides them with quantitative crop-stand counts early after planting and well before harvest, claimed the company.

view of ipad with translated software user interface.
The latest edition of Carbon operator software now includes translation into seven languages. | Credit: Carbon Robotics

Software updates support farmers worldwide

In addition to the new mobility option, Carbon Robotics announced two software enhancements: spatial data intelligence in the Carbon Ops Center and multi-language support in the iPad operator app.

The app now supports seven additional languages, including Spanish, French, German, Danish, Dutch, Polish and Romanian. By incorporating these advancements, Carbon Robotics said it not only addresses the diverse needs of farmers in various regions but also empowers them with actionable data to meet the evolving demands of agriculture.

2023 was a record year for Carbon Robotics, as it tripled shipments of LaserWeeders to growers and rapidly expanded into Europe and Australia. To support continued growth and product development, Carbon Robotics raised $43 million in new capital in 2023, bringing its total funding to $80 million since its founding in 2018.

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Automated Warehouse Staff