Agricultural technology start-up Aigen has introduced a groundbreaking robot called the Aigen Element. The Aigen Element operates exclusively on renewable energy sources, especially solar energy. 

Weeds are one of the top concerns for farmers, as weeds cost farmers money and harm crop health. Therefore, weed control is one of the primary functions of the Aigen Element. The Aigen Element also uses satellite technology to provide real-time data about fields and crops. 

Aigen Element robots are lightweight, agile, and equipped with 205 W solar panels. These features enable the robots to operate for up to 14 hours a day in a variety of weather conditions. They also enable the Aigen Element to emit far fewer greenhouse gases (GHGs) than conventional farm tractors. 

The Aigen Element uses quantized AI technology. This technology is so efficient that robots “often generate a power surplus at the end of a full day of running,” according to Aigen co-founder Rich Wurden. Aigen Element robots only require 1.5 W of power, less than half of the power needed to charge a cell phone. 

The Aigen Element has garnered significant interest, with 2024 and 2025 pre-orders already sold out. 

Other Clean Energy Innovations in Agriculture

The Aigen Element is one of many new technologies with the potential to significantly cut GHG emissions in agriculture. 

A start-up called Helio has developed a drone called the AG-272. The AG-272 sprays agricultural inputs like fertilizers and herbicides on farm fields. The drones distribute inputs much more precisely than conventional farm equipment. This allows farmers to reduce their use of inputs (including coal-based fertilizers) by as much as 50%. 

Moreover, in April, researchers at the University of California created a greenhouse powered by a solar roof. 

Significance of the Aigen Element

Agriculture is currently responsible for 10% of US GHG emissions. Globally, agriculture and related industries (such as forestry) are responsible for up to 24% of GHG emissions. 

As a result, no efforts to achieve net zero GHG emissions can succeed without decarbonizing the agricultural sector. Technology like the Aigen Element enables governments to decarbonize their agricultural industries without having to resort to more politically controversial measures, such as mass killing of livestock. 

Aigen expects that its Element robots will be used on over 20,000 acres of US farmland in 2024.