A Concept of a Compact and Inexpensive Device for Controlling Weeds with Laser Beams

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Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Oct-21 Wed 15:55
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Agronomy, Vol. 10, Pages 1616: A Concept of a Compact and Inexpensive Device for Controlling Weeds with Laser Beams

Agronomy doi: 10.3390/agronomy10101616

Authors: Ildar Rakhmatulin Christian Andreasen

A prototype of a relatively cheap laser-based weeding device was developed and tested on couch grass (Elytrigia repens (L.) Desv. ex Nevski) mixed with tomatoes. Three types of laser were used (0.3 W, 1 W, and 5 W). A neural network was trained to identify the weed plants, and a laser guidance system estimated the coordinates of the weed. An algorithm was developed to estimate the energy necessary to harm the weed plants. We also developed a decision model for the weed control device. The energy required to damage a plant depended on the diameter of the plant which was related to plant length. The 1 W laser was not sufficient to eliminate all weed plants and required too long exposure time. The 5 W laser was more efficient but also harmed the crop if the laser beam became split into two during the weeding process. There were several challenges with the device, which needs to be improved upon. In particular, the time of exposure needs to be reduced significantly. Still, the research showed that it is possible to develop a concept for laser weeding using relatively cheap equipment, which can work in complicated situations where weeds and crop are mixed.

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