Mar 6, 2023
LaserWeeder earns Carbon Robotics spot on innovators list

Carbon Robotics, a leader in AI-powered robotics, has been named to Fast Company’s prestigious annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies for 2023.

Carbon Robotics is being recognized for the development and impact of its LaserWeeder, a robot operated by artificial intelligence and computer vision that uses lasers to remove weeds efficiently and sustainably. Since its launch in February 2022, the LaserWeeder has eliminated more than 500 million weeds and helped growers reduce their weed management costs by up to 80%.

Click to enlarge. Photo information below story.

This year’s list highlights the businesses at the forefront of their respective industries, paving the way for the innovations of tomorrow. These companies are setting the standard with some of the greatest accomplishments of the modern world. In addition to the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies, 540 organizations are recognized across 54 sectors and regions.

“Agriculture is facing a number of pressing challenges, such as labor, herbicide shortages and inflation,” Paul Mikesell, CEO and founder of Carbon Robotics, said in a news release. “At Carbon Robotics, we’re committed to utilizing technology to address these challenges and provide efficient, long-term solutions that support farmers.

“Historically, agriculture hasn’t always benefited from the latest technology and we are committed to applying the latest advancements in artificial intelligence and computer vision to a sector that affects us all,” Mikesell said in the release.

In February 2022, Carbon Robotics launched the LaserWeeder, a pull-behind robot that uses sophisticated artificial intelligence deep learning technology, computer vision, robotics and lasers, to identify and target weeds. The LaserWeeder’s 30 high-powered CO2 lasers use thermal energy to destroy the meristem of the weed with millimeter accuracy, without disturbing the soil or damaging nearby crops.

Click to enlarge

To date, the LaserWeeder can weed across more than 40 crops and can add new crop models in 24-48 hours. By the end of this year, LaserWeeders will be used on farms in 17 states and three Canadian provinces.

Carbon Robotics continues to rapidly innovate to meet growers’ needs, including adding the industry’s first LaserThinning capability to the LaserWeeder. LaserThinning targets areas where vegetable crops are purposefully overseeded and then thinned for optimal crop spacing, growth and yield. This is especially important for farmers growing lettuce, leafy greens, broccoli and other crops.

Fast Company’s editors and writers sought out the companies making the biggest strides around the globe. They also judged nominations received through their application process.

“What a strange and thrilling year it has been to honor this year’s Most Innovative Companies,” editor-in-chief Brendan Vaughan said in the release. “This year’s list compiles some of the most cutting-edge groundbreakers who are changing our world every single day, from legacy organizations like McDonald’s to upstarts like MrBeast and institutions such as NASA.”

Top photo: Participants at the inaugural FIRA-USA event showcasing agricultural robotics watch the LaserWeeder in action. The bright dots under the machine show the lasers doing their job. Photos: Chris Koger

Middle photo: Second photo: In the aftermath of Carbon Robotics’ LaserWeeder field pass, FIRA-USA attendees spot the charred remains of weeds.

Bottom photo: Charred remains of weeds.

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