Greenfield Robotics is on a mission to help farmers grow food with fewer chemicals. Rather than using the traditional method of applying herbicides and tilling the ground to control weeds, Greenfield uses a fleet of lightweight robots to take on the task.
I spoke with Clint Brauer, the CEO of Greenfield Robotics, by phone this week, and he said that the main purpose of Greenfield’s robots is to mow down aggressive broadleaf weeds, specifically the fast-growing pigweed. Greenfield’s robots currently operate in soybean fields, and the next crop will be milo (grain sorghum).
The robots from Greenfield Robotics weigh only 140lbs, and look like thin, upright vacuums. The perk of creating a small robot is that it is able to go out even in muddy conditions to mow weeds. Brauer said that even after fields received 3 inches of rain, Greenfield’s robots are able to go out and do their job, while a spray rig would easily get stuck in the mud.
These petite robots are also intelligent, and have the ability to sense depth and crop rows. They essentially function as miniature lawn mowers, eliminating weeds as they travel up and down crop rows. As Greenfield Robotics continues to grow, their goal is to use a fleet of 10 robots to knock out 100 acres in one day.
Greenfield Robotics is not the only company embracing robots as a solution to using fewer chemicals in agriculture. Farmwise builds self-driving robots equipped with computer vision and AI to identify and eliminate weeds. In the UK, the Small Robot Company uses a multi robot approach to map, identify and use electricity to zap weeds.
Greenfield Robotics has raised $885,000 in capital so far, and is currently raising an angel round. The company has signed up 10 farms in the U.S. to use its robots during the 2020 growing season.