Weeding can be time-consuming and hard work, which is why the tech startup Franklin Robotics has come up with a solution. This US company developed a 1.1-kg-heavy robot called Tertill that independently moves through the garden and trims. Tertill is a compact, circular fully automatic weed cutting robot, solar powered and efficient.
The Boston based startup lead by CEO Rory MacKean along with two iRobot veteran and Co-founders, CTO Joe Jones (also the Co-Founder of Harvest Automation) and Mechanical engineer John Case came up with this tool. Launched as a Kickstarter campaign, Tertill surpassed its goal of 120,000 dollars by 2 and half times at the end of campaign.
Tertill consists of sensors, nylon cutter, solar panel, speakers, indicators and extreme camber wheels. Tertill works on a simple understanding that plants are long and weeds are short. It patrols the farm looking for weeds and then cut them with a rotating nylon stick/cutter. The weeds are destroyed and mixed with the soil returning the nutrients back. The solar panel and the cell coverts sunlight into electricity and provides the power. Thus, there is no need to swap the batteries. During cloudy days, when the weed growth reduces, Tertill decreases its patrol and optimizes the usage.
No farm is completely even and so obstacles like rocks and holes must be smoothly tackled by robot. These is taken care by the four wheel drive which provides enough power as well as rigidly the robot needs to overcome slopes without turning over and moves swiftly in soft soil , mud and sand. The chamber wheels are another specific design point which makes it stand apart. Usually, the majority of the vehicles on road have a positive camber which is not distinctly seen when we look at an automobile but it is present. Whereas, racing and off road driving application prefer a negative camber and so does our Tertill which drives with a negative camber benefiting with a better stance, stability and aiding weed whacking.
Tertill will prove to be a great weed whacker owing to its compact design and functionality. In addition, the future versions may even include features like better detection of weeds or division of work area.