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Grapes must be picked at the exact point of maturation, and its plant must have the appropriate intake of water during development so that the wine ends up with desired properties. Controlling those parameters is complicated and expensive, and few can afford to use pressure chambers that measure water potential.
"This prevents the vine-grower and winemaker from having access to complete and reliable information during the grape's growth and maturation cycles on a regular basis and in real time. Thus, a majority of producers don't use data that could help them optimise the handling of their vineyard and, ultimately, influence the quality of the wine they produce," explains Francisco Rovira, head of the Laboratory of Agricultural Robotics (ARL) of Valencia's Polytechnic University (UPV).
Deficiency - Research - Consortium - UPV - Robot
To solve this deficiency, a European research consortium headed by the UPV is working on an automated robot for vineyard monitoring in the framework of the VINESCOUT project. The end goal is to help wine producers measure key parameters of their vineyards, including water availability, the temperature of the leaves and plant robustness.
After almost two years of work, they showed off the newest prototype in Portugal in late August. "Our robot enables intensive sampling, going from the 20 measurements per hour that the traditional method allows, to more than 3,000 pieces of data per hour without the user having to make an effort to get these measurements. At the end, the producer obtains a map of his plot of land with data that gives them an idea of when to activate the watering systems if they have one installed, or of the harvest date, as well as the most productive plant distribution for their vineyard," says professor Francisco Rovira, coordinator of the European project.
UPV - Televitis - Research - Group - Universidad
As well as the UPV, the Televitis research group from the Universidad de La Rioja (televitis.unirioja.es/)...
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