TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A robot inspired by duck farming is playing an active part in reducing weed growth in terraced rice paddies in Yamagata Prefecture.
Developed by a technician of automaker Nissan Motor Co., the robot moves about on the water automatically and muddies the water with its two screws to hinder the photosynthesis of weeds.
Shaped like a robotic vacuum cleaner, the duck-farming robot is about 60 centimeters square and weighs 1.5 kilograms.
It identifies its location mainly through the Global Positioning System to navigate across rice paddies.
The robot was developed reflecting a wish of a friend of the technician to grow rice without using pesticides.
At the moment, the technician has no plan to commercialize the robot, which, unlike real ducks, does not eat rice plants or is attacked by enemies.