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Look at This Solar-Powered Robot Weed-Picker
By Dan Nosowitz
There are many high-tech potential solutions, but one of our favorites is the ecoRobotix robot: a solar-powered, automated robotic weeder.
EcoRobotix last week secured a new round of funding—nearly $11 million from agriculture investor CapAgro as well as, interestingly, BASF, a German corporation who holds the title of largest chemical company in the world. And we understand why. Just look at this lil' cutie.
The ecoRobotix looks mostly like an end table on wheels, except the tabletop is a pair of photovoltaic solar panels, about seven feet wide. It's equipped with a camera and GPS sensors, which allow it to find weeds on the ground, which it then wheels over to do its job.
Underneath the tabletop is a pair of … well, they look like arms. Where the hands would be one each arm is a little cup that covers the weed and delivers a very small dose of pesticide. This is all done completely automatically, with no input needed from the farmer, and the company says this precise delivery system can reduce the amount of pesticide needed by about 20 times. It can cover about 7.5 acres of land per day.
The robot works by detecting the crop it's trying to protect. At the moment, the robot can only detect two crops—beets and canola—but the company says more options are coming and, just like your smart phone, can be delivered to the robot via software updates.
The ecoRobotix team has done pilot projects in Europe, and has told Reuters that it hopes to bring its product to market sometime in 2019. EcoRobotix will have company; there are several other startups working on this kind of precision scan-and-spray weeding, including American company Blue River.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."
georgeclerk / E+ / Getty Images
By Jennifer Molidor
One million species are at risk of extinction from human activity, warns a recent study by scientists with the United Nations. We need to cut greenhouse gas pollution across all sectors to avoid catastrophic climate change — and we need to do it fast, said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
This research should serve as a rallying cry for polluting industries to make major changes now. Yet the agriculture industry continues to lag behind.
"The Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism wishes to inform the public that following extensive consultations with all stakeholders, the Government of Botswana has taken a decision to lift the hunting suspension," the government announced in a press release shared on social media.