Technology

VineRobot maps colour intensity in grapes

Wednesday September 14 2016 by Vitisphere

- Photo credit : Alexandre Abellan (Vitisphere)
Using an on-board anthocyanin sensor, VineRobot has demonstrated the precision of its mapping technology in the vineyards of Buzet.

 

Unveiled on September 7, in a vineyard belonging to the Buzet co-operative winery, VineRobot demonstrated that it is both a standalone and responsive piece of equipment, capable of avoiding obstacles and manoeuvring around bends (view the video below). At an on-the-go speed of 2.5 kilometres an hour, the only problem it encountered was a relative lack of power/torque which is due to be remedied in the next prototype.

Robust

The robot’s ability to collect extremely precise data, at individual vine level, was demonstrated. The second prototype uses Multiplex optical sensors by Force A which measured anthocyanin concentration in visible clusters on the vineyard row analysed, hence measuring colour intensity, a gauge of grape quality. The readings are done using geolocation with real-time mapping of anthocyanin concentration levels, vine by vine. VineRobot thus paves the way for differentiated harvesting, particularly using mechanical harvesters where the crop could be separated into two separate trailers.

With funding of two million euros, the European VineRobot programme* is now focusing on how the finalised prototype will go into production and the robot marketed. The consortium has apparently already made tentative contact with manufacturers, although Javier Tardáguila dismisses their significance: “

"So far there have been no serious candidates”"
. The presentation of the third prototype at the German show Intervitis next November may well be a game-changer.

*Launched in January 2013, the European project involves five companies and the three universities of Geisenheim in Germany, Valencia and Rioja in Spain. The companies are: Avanzare in Spain for the nanotechnologies; Sivis in Italy for the optical sensors; Force A for the sensors; the co-operative winery in Buzet for the field trials; and Wall-YE in France for the robotics.

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