Little robot on the prairie

Naio Technology

Agricultural work is hard and there is a shortage of manpower. The weeding robots designed by Naïo Technologies may very well contribute to solving these problems.

Oz, Dino and Ted are three robots. Agricultural, electric, autonomous robots that work diligently in hothouses, vegetable fields and vineyards. Oz, Dino and Ted have been designed and assembled in the South-West of France, by a startup named after a Hawaiian plant, Naïo Technologies. Founded in 2011, the company employs a staff of about 70, most of them at its headquarters in Toulouse. It is in the business development phase and expects to generate a profit in the near future

A new type of farm workers



  • Weeding robot for vegetable crops

  • Dimensions : 40 cm x 60 cm x 130 cm

  • Total weight : 150 kg

  • Navigation : GPS RTK

  • Marketed since 2014




  • Straddle robot for weeding vegetable beds

  • Dimensions : 250 cm x 130 cm x 150-200 cm

  • Total weight : 1,2 t

  • Navigation : GPS RTK and cameras

  • Marketed since 2016



  • Straddle robot for vineyard weeding

  • Dimensions : 230 cm x 150-200 cm x 150-200 cm

  • Total weight : 1,8 t

  • Navigation : GPS RTK and sensors

  • Marketed since 2018




Naio Technology Dino

All it took was a simple discussion, 10 years ago, for the seed to be planted. Back then, Gaëtan Séverac and Aymeric Barthes, two robotics engineers, were listening to an asparagus producer’s complaints about the difficult working conditions and the shortage of manpower. As the problem has become a global one, in an increasingly abandoned agricultural world, the two engineers, convinced that robotics could provide at least a partial solution, decided to launch their project. Not by creating a robot for collecting asparagus, as they had initially planned, but by automating weeding, a tedious job affecting many more farmers (and potential customers).

Whenever it is not chemical, weeding specialised crops, such as vegetables or vineyards can represent up to one third of the production costs”, explains Gaëtan Séverac. “These costs are often the main obstacle to a conversion to organic agriculture, as the farmers prefer to continue using herbicides.

Like other agricultural machines, the robots must be all-terrain, water resistant, dust-proof and operational in a wide temperature range, across bumps and slopes. The sturdy chassis carries the cutting- edge technology that enables them to work autonomously. A combination of laser, ultrasound and physical sensors make sure that the robots do not present any risk to human safety nor infrastructures. The quality of weeding is ensured by a GPS RTK* that guides the chassis within a few centimetres of accuracy. For working with vegetables, which requires even greater precision, a camera is added to guide the tools.

Once the robot configured, the plot mapped and the users trained (all by Naïo Technologies), the farmer is ready to go. All he needs to do is transport the robot to the starting point and validate the settings. The machine locates itself, loads the required map and sets off for up to 10 hours of work.

Oz weeds 1000 linear metres an hour “and our two big ones are capable of managing up to an average of 30 hectares.” While the robots are weeding, the farmers can carry out more added-value jobs. Once the machine has completed its work, it then sends them an SMS.

Improving working conditions and providing a solution to labour shortage are not the only advantages, mentions Gaëtan Séverac. The robots do preventive weeding (like mowing robots, they pass regularly and prevent weed from growing at an early stage). “It is 3 or 4 times cheaper than corrective manual weed control.” Moreover, “as weeding quality is better, the plot provides a better yield” Oz (150 kg), Dino (1,2 t) and Ted (1,8 t) being lighter in weight than a tractor, they compress the soil less, which also improves productivity.

There are environmental advantages in addition to the economic benefits. “There is an increasing demand for eco-friendly agriculture and our robots make it possible to move in this direction” adds Séverac. Hoed more regularly, the soil evaporates less and so it needs less watering. “Electric and efficient, our robots use less energy than heavy machines and do not emit any CO2”. There is an even greater advantage for nature: mechanical weeding reduces, or even completely eliminates chemical weeding.

Now it is proven technology, reckons the French startup that keeps forging its success. It has sold over 150 robots in about twenty countries, mainly in Northern Europe and North America. They have just launched the latest version of Ted, capable of passing greater obstacles and carrying heavier tools.

In their pipeline, there are additional new functionalities for already existing robots, as well as new robots for other types of crops. To be announced in the coming seasons.