Lettuce celebrate! Naio’s R&D teams are currently working on the development of an active tool to weed in the row, around seedlings. Previewed at the Tech&Bio Trade Fair (France), Dino has just been awarded the silver medal at the highly prestigious Agritechnica Trade Fair 2019 for its global plant detection solution. The aim is for Dino’s inter-plant tool to take advantage of existing, successful solutions and combining them with innovative technologies. While lettuce producers are expecting this new tool to further Dino’s use, let us explain how Dino intends to become a state-of-the-art tool for weeding lettuces.
R&D into weeding in the row
An active tool is a tool that works as closely as possible to the seedling, providing efficiency and precision. But first we needed to know what tools were currently being used by farmers and how they could best be used to develop Dino’s active tool?
So our six-member team put on their walking boots and headed to Switzerland and the United States to visit tool producers and suppliers. It all started a year ago. We went to meet with producers in Europe and North America. They showed us the tractor hoeing tools they use for weeding lettuce seedlings and presented their shortcomings and advantages. The knives turned out to meet our needs.
Knives mounted on electric motors
These wanderings enabled us to combine the benefits of two solutions. This is how we decided to work on developing knives with a smooth opening and closing movement, using electric motors. This hybrid tool gets the best out of the existing technologies in terms of fluidity: a weeding guidance system equipped with knives and controlled by electric motors.
Precise detection of all lettuce types
Regarding the detection of lettuce seedlings, our R&D team has created a deep learning algorithm to identify and localize lettuces with precision, whatever their colour (red or green), their variety or their stage of maturity.
Besides the autonomous features of the machine, Dino’s active tool has many benefits.
Firstly, the fact that it is electric means that it requires little maintenance, and prevents the discharge of oil into the soil, which often happens with hydraulically operated equipment.
Next, its smooth movement hugs the seedlings, respecting them while carrying out weeding work, drastically reducing the amount of earth thrown up.
Lastly, the algorithms developed provide ultra-precise localization of the seedling, and therefore very close weeding.
Dino’s active tool for weeding in the row will be tested in our partner farmers’ fields next season.
You are a lettuce producer interested in becoming a partner? Contact us!