Using lasers in the fight against weeds

An environmentally friendly, laser-based method as the one currently being developed by Escarda and B.I.G. would be an evolutionary step in ecological weed control.
Photo-©: Philipp Lottes
(PresseBox) ( Berlin, )
Berlin.Industrial.Group. takes a share in Escarda Technologies. Together, they want to develop an innovate laser technology for the environmentally friendly killing of weeds and bring it to market.

Berlin.Industrial.Group. (B.I.G.) has taken a 24.9% share in the startup company Escarda Technologies with its headquarters in Bonn, Germany, thereby expanding their technology and shareholding portfolio.

The Spanish name Escarda (English: weeding) describes the purpose of the company. The engineer and founder Julio Pastrana is currently working on a process for fighting against unwanted plants in fields with the aid of innovative laser technology and artificial intelligence. A camera identifies the undesirable plants which are then precisely pinpointed and burned by a laser. It is an environmentally friendly and entirely chemical-free weed control method that is also suitable for larger agricultural farms – eliminating the need for time-consuming manual labour. Escarda is supported by the Faculty of Agriculture of Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn and the company can use the test plots and image database of the university.

With its innovative development approach, Escarda Technologies is a perfect match for the technology and shareholding portfolio of B.I.G. Among the subsidiaries of B.I.G. is Scansonic MI, a pioneer of laser-based welding and soldering processes and a world market leader in the field of laser-based systems for car body construction applications. Another subsidiary is Lumics, a leading company producing laser diode modules for medical applications.

"This new investment opens up a completely new field of activity: agriculture," explains Katrin Robeck, Executive Director of B.I.G. "For us, this is not only an exciting growth market. We are particularly interested in the ecological challenge." Escarda founder Julio Pastrana has high hopes for the technological collaboration: "With B.I.G., we have found a partner whose expertise enables us to not only optimise the further development of our innovation, but also to accelerate it considerably." The partners plan to launch the new technology for laser-based, pesticide-free weed control by 2021.

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