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Weed-killing robot will reduce the need for harmful herbicides

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The agricultural innovation can tell the difference between good plants and bad plants

If you've ever tried to grow your own garden, you know how impossible it is to keep up with the weeds. Keeping non-native vegetable plants alive while trying to keep native plants out is a losing battle, which is why many simply turn to herbicides to speed up the process. But the use of chemicals around our food is proving to be quite the health and environmental danger these days, so going back to hand-pulling those weeds is our only alternative. Or is it?

Scientists at Blue River Technology have announced their intent to commercialize their weed-killing robot after landing $3.1 million in Series A funding from Khosla Ventures. The agricultural invention uses algorithms to differentiate between good and bad plants, injecting the bad with enough fertilizer to kill it. Currently, the automated farmer can only detect lettuce plants from non-lettuce plants, but expanding its crop knowledge is a simple matter of programming.

The wheeled bot is still in the prototype stage at this point, but Blue River sees its machine as a cost-effective and safer solution to potentially reduce U.S. herbicide use by over 250 million pounds per year.

[Image credit: Lettuce rows via Shutterstock]
[via Co.Exist]

This article was written by Shawn Schuster and originally appeared on Tecca

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