Naïo Technologies the company that develops and markets robots for agriculture and viticulture, has set up a partnership with the German selector Strube, a subsidiary of the Deleplanque Group and a European seed advisor.
“France has a long tradition of beet production and the technical knowledge of its planters is a reference within Europe. Today, however, producers are facing new challenges which require different involvement from a seed producer such as us”, highlighted Eric Verjus, the Deleplanque Group’s chairman, as an introduction to this day. “We must continue to supply rich, productive, varieties, but we also have a duty to mobilise ourselves regarding themes such as climate change, biodiversity, the environment, the decrease in phyto etc.”.
The current prototype is evolving autonomously, guided by GPS RTK, at a maximum speed of 4 km/h, thanks to its electric motors and a battery currently supplying 8 hours’ autonomy. In the row, it can distinguish between beet and weeds at seedling stage on the basis of multi-spectral camera images feeding the algorhythms.
“The BlueBob, the name which the final robot will bear, will be designed to hoe mechanically on and between rows of beet, from the early plant (cotyledon) stage up to the ends of the rows, at variable distances between the sugar beet plants and at sufficient speed, ie. at least 0.5 ha/hr. It will include a system of on-board multi-spectral cameras feeding the algorhythms, which analyses the seedlings from images it takes in order to then divide them into two categories (beet and weeds) and decides in real time whether to activate the robot’s cutters or not” specifies Antje Wolff, Innovation Manager at the Strube Research Centre.