Digitalisation, Energy & Construction

Rowesys – A sustainable weeding solution

To solve the problem of herbicide overuse in agriculture, Rowesys provides a smart weeding solution. The prototype removes weeds purely mechanically and completely autonomous.

In today’s agriculture herbicides are the most common way to combat weeds. But these toxic chemicals are very harmful for the environment. The alternative to the overuse of herbicides is expensive and exhausting manual work. 

Rowesys is an ETH focusproject of the Robotic Systems Lab with the mission to provide a sustainable and herbicide free solution for weed control. A motivated team of 10 bachelor students developed in only nine months the prototype Rosie, which removes the weeds in the sugar beet fields purely mechanically. Rosie drives autonomously through the fields, detects the end of the row, and can turn precisely into the next row. No manual work and no herbicides are needed anymore.

Rosie has several features that make her special. While using cameras to navigate through the rows, she pulls little geese feet sweepers through the soil, which cut the weeds from their root. A custom-made suspension guarantees ground contact of all four wheels such that the robot does not get stuck. Additionally, each wheel can be steered independently allowing Rosie to perform agile manoeuvres. To face the rough agricultural conditions, the whole system in IP 54 dust- and splash-proof.

The team continues to improve the prototype and to add new features. Right now, the team is looking for new students who want to write a Semester Thesis about Rosie and new industrial partners to reach the goal of a sustainable agriculture.


Rowesys Timo Schönegg+41 78 713 43 41rowesys@ethz.ch