Recently appointed FarmDroid Irish distributor, IAM Agricultural Machinery, showcased the world’s first fully automatic robot that can take care of both sowing and weed control.

Dubbed as the FarmDroid FD20, the solar-powered robot is designed to reduce the cost of sowing and weed control, while doing it CO2 neutral, and pesticide-free. The manufacturer has said that 250 units are working in over 18 countries to date, including up to 10 in the UK. Capable of covering up to 900m/hr, the unit weighs in at 800kg.

With GPS, FarmDroid sows the crops in the field and marks precisely where every single seed is placed. It performs mechanical weed control, both between the rows and inter-row, delivering precise non-chemical weeding.

Four solar panels on top of the robot produce power for two lithium batteries which ensure up to 24 hours operation daily. This means you do not need to charge the batteries externally. The FD20 can operate non-stop for 24 hours, stopping only when batteries are flat. Once batteries are flat, the brakes are applied until the sun rises and starts recharging the batteries.

According to the manufacturer, one robot can seed and weed 20ha in a season under optimal conditions. With prices starting from €95,000 plus VAT, IAM has plans to demonstrate the unit this autumn.

The machine was awarded the NPA Machine of the Year accolade this week.