Wine Robot To Monitor The Vines

Driverless agricultural vehicles have taken a firm hold in the farming industry and now the latest could help ensure top-quality bottles of wine.

The VineScout claims to be able to help the collection of real-time data in vineyards from which improved grape maturation and harvesting strategies can be devised. The machine employs technology from UK specialist Sundance Multiprocessor Technology which has launched the Sundance VCS-1, a small, high performance, low power and lightweight embedded processor platform designed specifically for precision robotics incorporating complex, real-time vision, control and sensor applications.

The viticulture robotic project hopes to significantly improve the successful wine growing in Europe with a robot that monitors vineyards automatically helping help wine producers measure key parameters including water availability, the temperature of the leaves and plant robustness. It claims to be capable of operating with a battery life of six hours to mimic a conventional tractor operations before refueling.

The VineScout is intended to reduce the subjectivity involved in traditional winemaking by providing winemakers with comprehensive and reliable real-time data on vine and grape growth and maturation, so that they can devise better irrigation and harvesting strategies. “Grapes must be picked at the exact point of maturation, and the vines must have the appropriate intake of water during development so that the wine ends up with desired properties,” explains Pedro Machado, research and development manager at Sundance.

“Controlling these parameters using traditional techniques is complicated and expensive, and few vine-growers and winemakers can really afford it. Thus, a majority of producers don’t have real data about the grape’s growth and maturation cycles that could help them. VineScout changes all this, bringing a new and valuable dimension to winemaking.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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