Smart Weed Control

Automatically detected broad-leaved dock photographed by drones at an altitude of 15m.

Broad-leaved Dock Detection with Drones

Controlling broad-leaved dock (Rumex obtusifolius) on organic farms is a laborious, time-consuming manual process, whilst on conventional farms it requires the use of plant-protection products. Artificial intelligence, sensor- and drone technology and robotics should in future enable us to eliminate rumex.

As part of an Innosuisse project, Agroscope, Fenaco, the University of Applied Sciences Ostschweizer Fachhochschule OST, Sunrise UPC and Huawei are developing a smart technology for controlling this weed.

Using a professional drone equipped with a high-resolution camera, numerous single images are taken of the entire dock-infested meadow or pasture acreage. The images are then sent in real time to a central server via the 5G network. An algorithm specifically developed for this purpose identifies the rumex plants on the images and calculates their coordinates. The next step consists of sending the data back to the field, where a vehicle is navigated to the weeds via GPS and then destroys them.

Microflame and hot water in row crops 

Hot water and microflame offer an alternative to herbicide use for controlling weeds in row crops. The basic principle works, but implementation requires high-precision application via a robot. Since performance is limited, the question arises as to the most sensible way to use these new methods in practice. 




Row of weeds

Broad-leaved dock

Image recognition

URL for direct access