Robotic Weed Control
Robotic Weed Control
Robotic Weed Control
University of California
Robotic Weed Control

Welcome

Mission statement

The project mission is to develop cost-effective and sustainable solutions for weed management in vegetable crops.

History

The project scientists have been working on developing new technologies to improve the efficiency of weed management in vegetable crops for over two decades. UC Davis contributions to vegetable crop mechanization began with the invention of the automated mechanical thinner in 1967; include the invention of the first machine vision guided cultivator in 1995, and continued with the development of robotic weed control systems and in-field evaluation of subsequent commercial robotic cultivators.

Challenges

Vegetable crops lack effective herbicides and depend on hand weeding to reduce weed competition and profitably produce crops. Reductions in labor availability for hand weeding and loss of older vegetable herbicides create uncertainty for the future of vegetable production in the US. Recent advances in machine vision technology have allowed the development of commercial field robotic equipment that can cultivate or spray herbicides to remove weeds while protecting individual crop plants. The challenge has been that the robotic equipment developed so far cannot differentiate between weeds and crops. The technology is not effective in weedy fields because it is just as likely to kill the crop as kill the weed. The project scientists here seek to develop a system that “learns” the difference between a crop and a weed.

Sponsors and Funding

USDA NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative
USDA NIFA Crop Protection and Pest Management
California Tomato Research Institute

Program staff
UCD Robotic weed control project logo

Project Director:

  • David Slaughter, Professor, Biological & Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; dcslaughter@ucdavis.edu

Co-PDs:

  • Steven Fennimore, Extension Specialist, Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis, 1636 E. Alisal Street, Salinas, CA 93905; safennimore@ucdavis.edu
  • Ken Giles, Professor, Biological & Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; dkgiles@ucdavis.edu
  • Manoj Karkee, Assistant Professor, Biological Systems Engineering, Washington State University, Irrigated Agricultural Research & Extension Center, 24106 N. Bunn Road, Prosser, WA 99350; manoj.karkee@wsu.edu
  • Mark Siemens, Associate Specialist, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, University of Arizona, 6425 W. 8th Street, Yuma, AZ 85364; siemens@cals.arizona.edu
  • Richard Smith, Vegetable and Weed Science Farm Advisor, University of California, Cooperative Extension, 1432 Abbott Street, Salinas, CA 93901; rifsmith@ucanr.edu
  • Laura Tourte, Farm Management Advisor, University of California, Cooperative Extension, 1432 Freedom Blvd. Watsonville, CA 95076; ljtourte@ucanr.edu
  • Shrinivasa Upadhyaya, Professor, Biological & Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; skupadhyaya@ucdavis.edu
  • Stavros Vougioukas, Assistant Professor, Biological & Agricultural Engineering, University of California, Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616; svougioukas@ucdavis.edu
  • Qin Zhang, Professor, Director, Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), Washington State University, Irrigated Agriculture Research & Extension Center, 24106 N. Bunn Road, Prosser, WA, 99350; qinzhang@wsu.edu

 

Webmaster Email: gperez@ucdavis.edu