The Swiss startup ecoRobotix has raised €2.8 million for its new robotic weeder, which eradicates weeds in row crops.
The investment comes from 4FO Ventures, along with Investiere.ch, Business Angels Switzerland (BAS), and a number of others. The new funding will make it possible to complete the development and industrial production of the robot, and to launch the first sales of the machine in Switzerland and in Europe.
The company's solar-powered robot uses sensors, a camera, and a GPS system to spray only the unwanted vegetation in a field, reducing the amount of pesticides used for weeding crops, and reducing the cost to the farmer.
"This financial support permits us to complete the development of our machine and launch it on the market. It offers a concrete solution to both economic and ecological problems of the farming world, and makes it possible massively to reduce the use of chemical products," said Aurélien G. Demaurex, co-founder of ecoRobotix.
"Our motivation was environmental in the first place, with the reduction of herbicides, but we would also like to try to make work on the soil look more attractive to the successive generations. In creating this innovative working tool, adapted to the needs of farmers for whom soil conservation is a priority, we likewise aim to demonstrate that high-tech has a place in the agriculture of tomorrow, alongside traditional inherited wisdom. This is not intended to devalue human labour, but makes it less taxing and less hazardous to health, while being sustainable in both ecological and economic terms," said Steve Tanner, co-founder of ecoRobotix.
Read more: ecoRobotix (press release)