Moondino rice paddy robot for autonomous weeding

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The robot is able to autonomously perform weeding and padding operations. The latest version is ready for production and will be officially launched in 2021. The robot will be commercially available in 2022.
In the upcoming 2021 season, the Moondino robot prototype will be able to manage its own plot of land fully autonomously, said Silvano Tasso, Technical manager at ECO Process & Solutions.

The Swiss company, located in Lugano, developed the rice paddy robot together with SUPSI (University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland) and Italian agtech company ARVAtec, specialised in GPS guidance.

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Wheels as weeding tools
Moondino is able to autonomously carry out weeding and padding operations. The wheels of the robot have a special shape. They are not only there for making the robot drive, but also act as weeding tools.

The robot runs autonomously and can stay in the field continously. Its electric motor is powered by a battery, which is continously being charged by solar panels with which the robot is equipped. In theory, a fleet of Moondino robots could even supply energy to a farm when they are not used for cleaning and weeding rice fields.

GPS guidance
Moondino can be used for mechanical weeding immediately after sowing, on dry and submerged land, with the same precision thanks to GPS guidance. Because the robot can work continuously in the rice field, there is an additional advantage: the water becomes cloudy, so weeds have less chance to grow.

3 acres per day
According to Silvano Tasso, Moondino can cover up to 3 acres per day. It can be used until the rice tillering proces is complete and there is no more space left between the rows for weeds to occur.

The final testing phase will be completed in 2021, said Silvano Tasso, and Moondino is expected to be launched in Italy in 2022. Other European countries will follow.

The “basic” version will cost around 25,000 euros, Moondino will be sold directly to farmers.

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