In a development with obvious implications for other things robots might soon be tasked with killing, the Carbon Robotics Autonomous Weeder is working twenty times faster than the humans it replaces.
When vegetable farmer Shay Myers needs to weed 30 acres of organic onions, he's typically hired a crew of around 30 people for a day of work that can be tedious, including sometimes using pocket knives to carve away weeds around the onions. This season, he hopes to use two robots instead. Myers is an early user of a Seattle-based robotics company's "autonomous weeder," a tractor-sized machine that uses lasers to kill weeds. The first sight of the machine in a field of crops "was like science fiction…"