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Long-term Autonomous Laser Weed Control

Long-term Autonomous Laser Weed Control

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The LALWeco project aims to combine an autonomous robot with a modular laser unit for weed control. This robot autonomously navigates through the crop rows, identifies existing crops and weeds during its journey using high-resolution 3D mapping and segmentation, and subsequently treats unwanted weeds selectively and minimally invasively using the laser.

One aspect of LALWeco is the analysis of weeds and the long-term monitoring of crops based on 2D camera and 3D LiDAR data are carried out by an autonomously driven agricultural robot. On the other hand, weed control is intended to be achieved using a laser unit as a tool ("laser weeding"), specifically with a low-energy consumption laser unit to allow its use on a relatively small mobile robot system. This system is primarily developed for the scenario of regenerative and bio-intensive cultivation systems, especially in vegetable farming, but it is also intended for broader applications.

Laser weeding as a methodology for weed control has a significant advantage over traditional mechanical hoeing in that it operates precisely, can be dosed, conserves soil, and is contactless. By using an autonomous system to weaken or eliminate weeds in their early growth stages, competition between crops and weeds for light, water, and nutrients is reduced, providing better growth conditions for crops in the field. Additionally, this technique saves labor time in both upstream and downstream processes. The economic benefits of such a system arise from both labor time savings and increased productivity due to positive effects on crops resulting from the deliberate control of plant communities in the field, which can promote allelopathic effects (positive plant interactions, such as attracting beneficial organisms).

LALWeco can thus yield a significant contribution to the sustainability of agriculture via its adaptive, minimally invasive weed control using lasers and a long-term autonomous robot.


BMBF - Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology


BMBF - Federal Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Technology