Wine is more than a beverage, is part of a culture that began to originate in the Neolithic. It was during the time of the Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations when wine acquired an outstanding importance, even to worship the God of the vineyards (Dionysus or Bacchus). Christianity greatly contributed to its expansion, being monasteries major centre of wine production during the Middle Ages. Currently, only in the European Union there are 1.6 million vineyards which produce about 175 million hectolitres annually.
To satisfy all kind of winegrowers and suit any palate, VINBOT arises. It is an all-terrain autonomous mobile robot equipped with a set of sensors capable of capturing and analysing vineyard images and 3D data by means of cloud computing applications. This Precision Viticulture tool will allow winegrowers estimate the yield in an accurate way and, therefore, manage the canopy optimally and harvest areas according to the ripeness of the grape. This will lead to a high control of wines’ quantity and quality.
Thus, VINBOT will help winegrowers perform three essential yield management techniques:
- Fruit removal
- Sequential harvesting by grapes ripeness by estimating the yield three times a year (spring, summer and véraison)
VINBOT will assess vineyards features by means of machine vision monitoring of main parameters hence allowing winegrowers take any needed corrective action.
VINBOT will be able to assess:
- Shoot-tip stress
- Excessive water supply after flowering
- Moderate/severe water stress
- Heat stress
- Canopy colour
- Canopy density
- Berry and cluster shape and size
- Diseases and nutrient deficiencies
All these features are related to parameters as tendrils, colour, leaf angle or gaps which will be monitored by machine vision technology integrated into VINBOT.
Despite VINBOT’s technological complexity which integrates robotics, computer vision and cloud-based applications, it will provide growers with easy-to-understand online vigour and yield maps of their vineyards, which will allow optimal management and a significant improvement of their wines’ quality result of a process from grapes with the same ripeness state.
Winegrowers will improve the organisation of the production and marketing of their wines by a better choice of the grapes to blend for each targeted wine quality segment which will increase their revenues.