College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Robotic Weeders

A new line of thinking in weed control – small, nimble, and sustainable – is gaining traction.

The robotic mechanical intra-row weeder project is being proposed by Iowa State University (ISU) agricultural and biosystems engineering professors Brian Steward and Lie Tang.

Originally funded by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Marketing and Food System Initiative Program, it is currently being supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Foundational Program.

Steward and Tang suggest that lightweight, ATV-size robots could open an energy-efficient alternative doorway by precision-zapping weeds, without chemicals, in high-value row crops. Energy cost for the robot’s mechanical weed control, per row, could be less than one fifth of the energy required today.

For the original story by John Dietz on, click here.