Spotlight on Carbon Robotics

The future is here…and it is weedy. Carbon Robotics is a local company that is bringing precision computing, machine learning, AI and killer robotics to a multibillion dollar industry: farming. AgTech is one of the fastest growing industries as growers seek to increase crop yields, preserve topsoil, and address labor scarcity while remaining profitable. Oh, and they’re helping the environment too.

Here’s the business model: Carbon Robotics has designed, developed and built the LaserWeeder – a revolutionary AI-powered robotic system that precisely identify, weed and thin specialty vegetable crops using lasers with millimeter accuracy, while observing the conditions of the crop and soil in a field for later analysis. Its technology reduces the use of herbicides in traditional farming, eliminates unnecessary tilling for regenerative farming, and in many cases eliminates the need for weeding crews of up to 75 people per field per LaserWeeder unit. Carbon Robotics has sophisticated AI/deep learning and over 8 million labeled crop and weed image objects that, in the weeding application, delineate between individual weeds and crops in order to eliminate only the weeds, all in real time, at tractor speeds of 1-2 mph (2-4 acres per hour). These robots are also able to thin crops to maximize crop health and yields per acre. 

This isn’t an aspirational blueprint for the future – LaserWeeders are growing in sales across the country as growers seek to deal with overtilled farms, more extreme weather, and rising costs. To grow today’s vegetables take more than 40% more fertilizer than in the past, and have a decreased nutritional value as soil has been leached of nutrients. With the LaserWeeder, the unit can selectively burn away weeds without herbicides and those return to the soil as organic matter, serving as nutrients for the vegetables being grown. 

Since the LaserWeeder was first introduced in February 2022, the company has over $100 million in sales (delivered units and pre-orders for upcoming dates), with 2023 shipments to 17 states and Canada. They now employ 110 people and are growing fast, having doubled employees in 9 months.

Brett Goodwin, the VP of Marketing, understands that a high-growth company must prioritize finding the best people. “We need a huge breadth of skills, from software engineering to AI and deep learning as well as manufacturing design, product management, sales and field demonstration,” he says. Carbon Robotics looks beyond keyword skills and looks for people who are committed to the mission of the company. As a result, they are getting motivated and engaged people who go the extra mile.

Beth Kester-Warner, Head of People Operations, agrees. “We have a lot of incredible stories from our employees with diverse backgrounds – from underwater welding to firefighting,” she says. “We also value DEI at our core.”

Who wouldn’t want to be part of the Carbon Robotics mission? Their technology allows farmers to grow food more efficiently and be more competitive in global food production, increase food security for our country, and be better environmental stewards of the Earth. Pretty compelling as an employer – and a reason they don’t lack for candidates.

Solving the labor crisis is one of the reasons Carbon Robotics is enjoying such success – they understand there is a much better use of scarce labor than manually weeding in the fields. The LaserWeeder helps growers manage labor costs: Carbon Robotics solves their own labor issues by being an employer of choice on a laudable mission. 


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