Wonderful Engineering

VineRobot Is A New Robot That Will Look After Your Vineyard

If you would love to have a vineyard of your own then you have to be prepared to do a lot of hard work. Lots of waking up before dawn to check for frost, followed by lots of roaming up and down the rows of vines to check on the development of the grapes. How awesome would it be if you had a robot do your dirty work so you could enjoy a glass of wine!

VineRobot is a project whose objective is the design, development and deployment of a new agricultural robot in the field of unmanned ground vehicles for viticulture, equipped with several technologies for non-invasive sensing to monitor, analyze and optimize vineyard management to improve grape composition and wine quality. Agricultural researchers and computer scientists are working on the development of an unmanned robot equipped with artificial intelligence systems to help manage the vineyards. The robot will provide reliable, fast and objective information on the state of the vineyards to grape-growers, such as vegetative development, water status, production and grape composition.

The major advantage of this project is the availability of a large quantity of automatically obtained data that will be easy to interpret. “Robotics and precision agriculture provide producers with powerful tools in order to improve the competitiveness of their farms. Robots like the one we are developing within this project will not substitute the vine grower, but will facilitate their work, so they can avoid the hardest part in field. It has several advantages including the ability to predict grape production or its degree of ripeness in order to immediately assess its quality without touching it,”said Javier Tardaguila, project manager and researcher at the University of La Rioja and Francisco Rovira, researcher at the Agricultural Robotics Laboratory of the UPV (Universitat Politecnica de Valencia).

For the next year, the developers are planning to give the robot the autonomy to safely drive between the vineyard lines through stereoscopic vision, with a  camera on the side to provide information about the vegetation status of the plants and possible bunches. The ICT Robotics call of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union has funded the project with more than two million euros and it will conclude at the end of 2016.  

Watch the video below to know more.