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A robot for spraying narrow, steep vines

Par Vitisphere Le 21 octobre 2021
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A robot for spraying narrow, steep vines
Yanmar is already working on the possibility of adapting the robot to larger vineyards and making it suitable for tillage or canopy management. - crédit photo : Marion Bazireau

“The reason why Yanmar has agreed to show you its robot is because it really passes muster”, claims Mathieu Liebart, head of experimental estates at the Champagne wine marketing board (CIVC), met on Friday, September 24 behind the Nicolas Feuillatte Wine Centre. “Unlike start-ups that need to publicise what they do, this is a sound business that does not need to find funds to innovate”.

After three years in the development phase, the Japanese manufacturer, known for its tractors, marine engines and public works machinery, has almost completed its fourth prototype of the YV01. The autonomous high-clearance tractor is designed for spraying narrow, sloping vines in Champagne, Burgundy and the Loire Valley, which are between 1 and 1.5 metres wide.

Mounted on two tracks, the robot is 1.6 metres high and fairly unremarkable to look at. “It weighs just one tonne and is very easy to transport on a trailer, with no need for a special licence”, explains Junko Buguet, Yanmar's marketing and sales manager.

Unlike its Ted or Bakus counterparts, the Yanmar robot has two tracks with two-wheel drive and runs off a 27 HP petrol engine with hydrostatic transmission, which winegrowers are familiar with. Its 17-litre tank gives it about 4 hours of autonomy and it has a capacity of 200 litres of plant protection products, enough to spray just over a hectare.

The company displayed its robot to the general public on 12 October at the Viteff exhibition. Next year, it will be providing a few robots for demonstration, before marketing them on a larger scale in 2023 to the tune of €99,000 per unit.


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