Hi Guys! I am Philip English from Robophil.com and on this video we are doing a quick Interview with Gabriele Mondada from EcoRobotix. We managed to speak to Gabriele at the Innorobo 2015 Robot Exhibition in France, Lyon.
EcoRobotix LLC is a start-up founded in 2011, whose mission is to develop and profitably sell innovative agricultural robots that significantly reduce the impact farming has on the environment, while keeping farming costs competitive. They presented an autonomous weeding machine allowing important herbicides reduction in intensive crops.
Philip: Brilliant! Can you introduce yourself and your company?
Gabriele: Okay. My name is Gabriele and I work for EcoRobotix.
Philip: Brilliant! So this is an interesting device, now what is the device called?
Gabriele: Okay. This is a weeding machine, this is a robot that is autonomous, it can run by himself, it has a solar panel to supply the robot, then the robot will scan a field, so we are today targeting a field farmed by host, it follows the host, when it reach the end of the field, it make a u-turn and goes to the next course and by doing that it detect well where the weeds are and will discard the weeds.
Philip: Okay. So basically, he goes up and down the fields, uses its camera to try and find which are crops and which are weeds and then, does it uses some sort of spray then to actually spray on the weeds?
Gabriele: Exactly. Two solution in fact, one is chemically, so we discard the weed by applying chemical powder, so we have a spray on the robot arm but we are putting the chemical powder only exactly on the weed, so in other to reduce a lot the amount of chemical powder that we are putting on the field.
Philip: Alright! I see what you mean, so instead of you spray the whole field, and you’ll be worried that there is a tiny mark on it and obviously, I guess that saves time and saves material, spray cost as well and everything else
Gabriele: We are able to reduce to quantity of chemical powder by a factor of 20
Philip: 20. Okay. That’s really good.
Gabriele: And this can reduce the cost a lot and make you a machine after 4 years what you get from reducing the amount is what you spend for the machine
Philip: For the actual cost. So the rough price for the robot?
Gabriele: Okay. It is not define but is about 15,000 Euro
Philip: 15,000 and yeah it makes sense but and this is prototype stage right on the moment
Philip: So this is the prototype? So when you guys look into make a commercial product, is it in line for another 6 months to a year to come out with a commercial product?
Gabriele: Okay. You know the farm method of walking on the spring for weeding. So next spring we will walk with a few of them in order to finalise the design of the robot and then the next spring we will make the product available for everyone.
Philip: Brilliant! Brilliant! Yes. I can see it’s been a very very useful product for this sort of thing. I guess you are looking for world wide
Gabriele: Sure. Sure. We first targeting the sugarbeets and this quiet, big well and very present in Europe and of course the next step is to think about the and that I mentioned before that there is two, one is chemically, we are, in fact, developing a mechanical tool that can drill in order to completely removed any chemical product.
Philip: Okay. I can see. If you spray it then it can always come back but if you actually drill it on the ground then it’s gone
Gabriele: And you reduce, you removed completely the chemical. So you have farmers that are making biological culture and this is very interesting for all of them.
Philip: Okay. I can see that. I mean it saves in a way, all of that chemicals, you know, if you drill it out it save the chemicals, it saves the risk of chemicals drops and so forth.
Philip: That’s brilliant! Cool overview. Thank you very much
Gabriele: Your welcome.
Brilliant ! Thanks Guys, I hope you enjoyed the interview and I want to say a big thank you to Gabriele from EcoRobotix for his time and the interview.
If you want to learn more about ecoRocbotix, I have put links below.
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