Within the Robotic Weeding System (Rowesys) project, a group of students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW) are working on an agricultural robot. The aim is for this robot to autonomously drive around fields removing weeds. To do so, it pulls small plows through the soil that kill the weeds between rows of plants by pulling the roots out from the ground and onto the surface, after which the weed dries out.
According to a press release, the robot has now started practical tests. It will be used in sugar beet fields initially, which are known for their relatively high herbicide consumption. Initial results show that the robot can greatly decrease both the use of herbicides and contamination of ground water, air, and produced goods.
The project run by the ETH is being supported by AWK Group, a consulting firm based in Zurich. It works with universities as part of its location initiatives, promoting projects that encourage sustainable developments through the use of technology in particular.
Oliver Vaterlaus, CEO of AWK Group, states: “The Rowesys research project is a prime example of how digital innovations and sustainable solutions will change our industries. We congratulate the Rowesys team on their success.”