Local robotics company using AI tech to eliminate weeds

Jul 14, 2023, 7:03 AM | Updated: 2:05 pm

laserweeder ai...

Underneath Carbon Robotics' LaserWeeder (Photo courtesy of Carbon Robotics)

(Photo courtesy of Carbon Robotics)

Carbon Robotics, a Seattle-based AI-powered robotics company, has developed the most efficient way to rid massive farming fields of weeds.

The LaserWeeder, a chemical-free, no-till weed control solution for specialty crops, can eliminate over 200,000 weeds per hour and offer up to 80% cost savings in weed control, according to Carbon Robotics.

“We have what’s called a deep learning neural net,” Paul Mikesell, the CEO of Carbon Robotics, told Jason Rantz on KTTH 770 AM. It’s this subset of AI. And this computer is trained on a lot of images, 1000s of images with pictures from farm fields, where we know what the weeds are, and we know what the crops are. And we know what we’d like to eliminate. And then we plug that AI system into a series of lasers that we have a millimeter level of control over where it’s going to hit on the ground. And the AI targets the weeds and burns them out of the farmer’s fields.”

More on WA farming: 12-year-old charged with arson at Lacey mushroom farm

The LaserWeeder is installed with 150W CO2 lasers with millimeter accuracy, ready to fire every 50 milliseconds.

“They don’t have to spray herbicides. They don’t have to hire farm workers to come out there and pull these weeds,” Mikesell continued. “The robot just takes care of it on its own. And it’s been incredibly effective.”

The LaserWeeder was crowned 2023’s “Best AI-based Solution for Agriculture” for its time-saving efficiency — lowering costs of labor — in the sixth annual AI Breakthrough Awards program conducted by AI Breakthrough. Labor accounted for 28.2% of a modern farmer’s total expenses, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The average farm LaserWeeder has worked on has been approximately 4,000 acres in size, but the device can even be handy on smaller farms of sub-1,000 acres. Mikesell stressed the invention’s risk of fire is non-existent.

“In AI, and just technology generally, most of it has been developed in the context of Washington state. It’s developed largely in Seattle for Seattle users,” Mikesell said. “One of the things I’m really proud of is we’re developing the technology in Seattle, with all the software, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering talent we have here, but it’s to be used in places like Richmond, Othello, and Kennewick so folks can grow better, healthier food at better costs for the entire state.”

More on WA farming: Monroe farm forced to close for months after losing its entire flock to bird flu

Mikesell stated the company is working on future projects using AI technology to improve the struggles of running a modern farm. The LaserWeeders are primarily located in eastern Washington and California — two of the biggest vegetable-growing regions in the country — but sales have started to spring in places like Europe and Australia.

Washington became one of the first states to pass legislation curbing the freedom AI technology had at its launch. Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill into law in May that regulates the use of synthetic media in campaigns for elective office, citing the need to protect the integrity of our democratic process and limit the influence of manipulative media.

While AI technology can seem endless in its potential, one of its earliest and most effective uses is speeding up the process of medical screenings, particularly making cancer imaging faster, more accurate, and more informative, according to the National Cancer Institute. For cancer treatments, doctors use imaging tests to find the disease at its earliest stages within patients, determining a tumor’s stage and surveying if the patient’s cancer has returned.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). He is the author of the book What’s Killing America: Inside the Radical Left’s Tragic Destruction of Our CitiesSubscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

Jason Rantz on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to jason rantzTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 3-7pm toThe Jason Rantz Show.

Jason Rantz Show

KTTH Opinion

County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay speaks to grant recipients following the press event at Garfiel...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Councilmember complains about results of his own defunding, reforms

King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay complains that putting criminals in jail is unrealistic because our criminal legal systems are at a "breaking point." He hopes you don't realize he's one of the local radicals pushing to starve the criminal justice system of resources. 

13 hours ago

seattle fox news...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Seattle residents, media mock dead victims to own Fox News

Some in Seattle media celebrated the responses "owning" the conservatives at Fox News, even looking for some of the people featured in the video.

2 days ago

sound transit trees...

Max Gross

Gross: Sound Transit wanted to decimate trees; residents demanded better 

Lake Forest Park residents were livid when they heard about a potential new Sound Transit Project that would destroy tree life in the community.

3 days ago

A promotional poster for fentanylfacts.org provides what a Washington health agency believes are ke...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: One health department’s anti-fentanyl campaign actually pushes drug use

A new campaign from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department ends up encouraging kids to use fentanyl in a "safer" way. It's dangerous and will only make the crisis worse.

7 days ago

Yakima City Council...

Jason Rantz

Rantz: Mayor scolded for calling 911 on ‘far right-wing’ signature gatherers

Not only were the petitioners acting lawfully while promoting mainstream views, it wasn't an emergency and should not have resulted in a call to 911.

11 days ago

Seattle Fire Department vehicles were spotted outside Seattle Police Department's West Precinct on ...

Jason Rantz

‘All clear’ given after suspicious package found outside Seattle Police West Precinct

A suspicious package with powder was found outside of the Seattle Police Department's West Precinct Wednesday.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Local robotics company using AI tech to eliminate weeds