The Swiss startup ecoRobotix took a different approach to weeding. The company developed an autonomous robot that uses scan-and-spray technology. The way the system works is that the AI software analyses a camera feed and spots weeds on the ground, prompting the robot to deliver a very small dose of pesticide to the target location. The entire process is fully automated and uses 20 times less pesticides compared to traditional spraying methods. And the machine covers three hectares of land per day. The robot’s upper part is covered with photovoltaic solar panels, around two metres wide, that provide a steady energy supply.
In 2018, ecoRobotix closed a new round of funding, receiving $11 million from various investors, including the agriculture fund CapAgro and the German chemical giant BASF. With funding secured and the research and development phase completed, the Swiss company is embarking on the next step of its growth. Aurélien G. Demaurex, the CEO and co-founder of ecoRobotix, says that his firm is now “entering a second phase of its existence, which is to grow into an international commercial company”. And with several successful pilot projects in Switzerland and other European countries already completed, Demaurex is well positioned to secure new clients.