That right there is Sydney Golden Wattle, a fast-growing invasive species native to Eastern Australia that has the possibility of covering 20 percent of the bushland in Western Australia by the year 2020. [John Moore], a researcher at the Department of Food and Agriculture, wants to put an end to this infestation by destroying large swaths of wattle with a quadcopter armed with weed killer.
The plan for the robotic plant assassins is simple; take aerial photographs of the bushland in Western Austraila and identify stands of individual weeds. [Moore]’s robots are then dispatched to these stands of weeds to spray them down with weed killer.
The quadcopters are armed with a camera, allowing the operator to make sure the robot is hovering directly over the invasive weeds. Considering these weeds are found in somewhat inaccessible places – and the fact that just about everything in Australia is poisonous – these robotic weeders will kill more wattle than what could be done on foot.
We couldn’t find a video of the robot in action, or a demo of the herbicide spay system of [John]’s copter. If you can find one of those, send it in and we’ll put it up.
Thanks to [Michal] for sending this in.