Autonomous spraying technology with help from Bilberry, Swarm Farm robotic agriculture and Goldacres.
Goldacres technical guru, David Tuppen recently commissioned a fully autonomous sprayer with green on green weed detection using a SwarmBot tractor and Goldacres Prairie Special trailing sprayer.
Swarm Farm produces a range of autonomous tractors for many different agricultural applications.
SwarmBot “Uniform” is a fully autonomous tractor powered by a Hatz 4 cylinders diesel producing 83hp. The tractor has a hydraulic drive with articulated steering and a top speed set to 10 km/hr.
“Uniform” will tow the custom-built Goldacres 2500L 18m Prairie Special set up with Weedetect spot spraying green on green (weeds in crop) or green on brown camera technology with the added ability for blanket spraying when required.
The sprayer features a Raven controller with RCM (Raven control module) 16 boom sections, 4 x 1.5-meter sections and 12 x 1-meter sections with 6 cameras mounted 3 meters apart.
Weed detection camera technology provides substantial chemical savings as opposed to blanket spraying. To have a system with the ability to detect weeds in crop is a real game-changer for a year-round spraying program.
This system enables the user to get the spraying done using substantially less chemical, in the ideal spraying conditions, without a physical operator, ready to spray 24/7.
Dave and the engineering team at Goldacres have put many hours into the Weedetect cameras. Getting the three systems Bilberry, Raven and Goldacres to work together has been the biggest challenge for the team, with this particular application being Autonomous adding another layer of complexity. Bilberry has also been very busy working on the algorithms and logic behind weed detection. Basically, teaching the cameras what is a weed and what is not. Guillaume Jourdain, co-founder and CEO of Bilberry, says “We now have the algorithms ready for detecting broadleaf weeds in wheat, oats and barley”
Dave plans to have the full system operational by early 2021 with initial testing all going well, at the end of the day this will be the first fully autonomous green on green sprayer operating in the world, a vision that came from an Australian farmer, all produced by 2 local Australian manufacturers and their overseas partners.