LettuceBot can kill weeds with 98 accuracy

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first_imgHumans have a pesky way of increasing in number no matter what we do. All those people also consume resources, and the strain on global food supplies will only increase in the future. As everyone scrambles to find a solution to this problem, we come back to one of our favorite problem-solvers: robots. A startup called Blue River Technology has been funded to continue development of its Lettuce-Bot, which is much, much cooler than it sounds.Angel investors have opted to put $3.1 million on the table to move development of the Lettuce-Bot forward. The system is designed to remove weeds from croplands without increasing the use of herbicides. The Lettuce-Bot would be compatible with organic produce standards in the US, which will great for consumers that take note of such things. Without the use of modern agricultural chemicals, the yield of crops tends to fall precipitously, but the Blue River system can differentiate between food crops and weeds with 98% efficiency.Lettuce-Bot does this by taking advantage of recent advancements in computer vision systems. In initial tests, Blue River took millions of images of developing iceberg and romaine lettuce plants. By aggregating that data, the robot is able to identify the crops and identify anything else as a weed to be selectively removed. This works even when the plants are overlapping.The Lettuce-Bot is not a miracle machine, though. At this time it only works on the two crops it has been tested on because it simply doesn’t know what any other plants look like. The additional funding could accelerate the process of teaching it to recognize new crops. Additional engineers are also expected to begin work on making Lettuce-Bot into a viable product.Blue River, via Future Timelinelast_img

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