Dino’s brand new mechanical weeding service: WAAS!

Dino is our autonomous mechanical weeding robot. It cultivates plots of lettuce, cabbages, leeks and other “green leaf vegetables”. It hoes multiple rows at the same time with heel sweeps or cultivator sweeps, and can also work between rows with Kress finger weeders. Several years of development and improvements later we can now utilize this robot to provide an essential service: WAAS!

What is WAAS?

To give it its full name, “Weeding As A Service” is a service contract for mechanical weeding offered by NAIO. Instead of investing in agricultural equipment, training and human resources to work the soil, all farmers need to do now is call Dino… and its operator!
It offers a range of benefits:
– Reduced time for work, and increased site output. Dino weeds up to 7 acres of vegetables in 7 hours!
– Reduced costs for labour, maintenance, mulching materials and phytosanitary products.
Furthermore, the work is carried out under the supervision of a NAIO operator. For Jean Inderchit, product manager: “The improvements and updates made to the robot make it even faster and more relevant”.

“A test that often becomes a service in the long term”

Effective soil weeding, and happy customers

The mechanical weeding service began in the USA with two autonomous Dino robots several months ago. Farmers that have tried it are completely satisfied with the work, and they are happy to say so too!

Daniel Alameda, a worker on the Top Flavor farm is in charge of several thousand acres of leaf vegetables in the USA. Last week he told us: “We’ve never managed to work the soil to this high quality ourselves” with reference to a field of leeks.

A low entry price for significant benefits in the long term

Seasonal work for this kind of task is increasingly expensive and harder to find in the USA. For the farmer, the robotic solution seems to have it all when it comes to dealing with this problem, and it does so within budget too. They get the full benefits of Naïo’s expertise so each robot can be put to its best use on the farm.

Julien Laffont, Marketing Manager for NAIO explains: “The adoption rate is high, since there is no initial outlay for the farmer, so no risk. On the other hand, Dino’s results and efficacy easily meet requirements”. This is enough to convince even the greatest doubters.

The Dino operator, a robotic weeding chameleon

The operator provides a comprehensive service, from start to finish. Weeding As a Service (Waas), is a turnkey soil working solution. 

In the United States, it’s Simon Belin that accompanies Dino to the fields every day:
– He considers the service request and fits the robot with the suitable tool.
– He ensures that the robot and the field are a suitable match.
– He creates a GPS map for the field using a manual GPS beacon.
– He processes the map obtained on the computer and transfers the file to Dino.
Simon then enters the number of rows planted in a section and Dino heads out to work the fields.
The robot then carries out the technical weeding and manoeuvres to position itself autonomously, using the map and a camera system on the tool carrying section. Simon monitors Dino from a distance. The aim is to ensure security and safety for the weeding robot, as well as for all people and vehicles that are in its vicinity.
Once the work is completed, Dino sends an SMS to the operator. Now it is time to take Dino back to the farm, to be charged and get ready for another day of work.

Dino 1, 2…3: more robots are on their way to ensure an adequate service level

There are currently two Dino autonomous weeding robots working the fields in Waas mode. A 3rd is due to arrive in the near future in response to increased service requests. This will be an ideal opportunity for its operator to learn a new skill: operating multiple units on a single area of land. The final objective: increase the output of the Dino weeding robot so the work can be carried out within a given weather window.