• This is the project called 'Welaser', funded by the EU within the Horizon 2020 program and which has a budget of 5.4 million euros.
A project coordinated by researchers from the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) will use lasers to eliminate weeds from crops and thus offer a sustainable alternative to the use of chemicals such as pesticides and pesticides.
The prototype will consist of an autonomous vehicle or robot with a vision system with artificial intelligence that will discriminate weeds from crops. Then it will detect the meristems of the weeds (responsible for their growth) and apply a high-power laser to them to kill the plants.
This prototype will be developed by a multidisciplinary team coordinated by researchers from the Center for Automation and Robotics, a joint center of the CSIC and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (CAR-CSIC-UPM). "This technology, by focusing directly on meristems and not using pesticides or pesticides, provides a clean solution to the problem of eliminating weeds and will help significantly reduce chemicals in the environment," explains Pablo González de Santos, scientist of the CSIC in the CAR-CSIC-UPM and coordinator of the project.
Thus, agricultural productivity can be increased while achieving greater environmental sustainability and improving the health of animals and humans, adds the researcher. González Santos' team will be in charge of the intelligent coordination of all the subsystems, including the generation of missions and the autonomous navigation of the mobile robot.
The 'Welaser' project is formed by a consortium of 10 partners from Spain, Germany, Denmark, France, Poland, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands and will focus on wheat and corn crops, the most relevant in the European market, as well like beets and carrots.
Weeds that grow in agricultural crops are characterized by their high dispersal capacity, great persistence and by decreasing the yield of plantations. Chemical products are usually used to eliminate them, but they deteriorate the properties of the soil and damage its beneficial organisms. Ending the use of pesticides and pesticides is a key objective of the European Union (EU). In this way, the 'Welaser' project proposes a sustainable alternative to the use of pesticides and pesticides and plans to have a prototype in 2023, which will then have to be commercialized.
Together with the CSIC, Agreenculture SaS (France), the Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Ranchers (Spain), Futonics Laser (Germany), the Institute for the Ecology of Industrial Areas (Poland), Laser Zentrum Hannover (Germany) participate in this project , the University of Bologna (Italy), the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), the University of Ghent (Belgium) and Vanden Borne Projecten BV (Netherlands).
Source: Verde, T., 2021. Tecnología Verde, El CSIC Utilizará El Láser Para Eliminar Malas Hierbas De Los Cultivos Sin Necesidad De Pesticidas. [online] ECOticias.com. Available at: <https://www.ecoticias.com/tecnologia-verde/206972/CSIC-utilizara-laser-eliminar-malas-hierbas-cultivos-sin-necesidad-pesticidas> [Accessed 11 January 2021].
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