• VineRobot is a robot that helps vinegrowers in winemaking decisions through data analysis of the vineyards
  • The European Consortium that develops the VineRobot expects to complete the robot prototype and demonstrate its capabilities in operational environments at the end of 2016

The VineRobot project, aimed at developing an autonomous robot that measures key parameters of the vineyard in real time to facilitate winemaking decisions, faces its final phase with various improvements in sensors, data processing and maps’ generation. 

The sensor system of VineRobot continues with new features. Since the beginning of 2016, the Consortium is analysing data taken in 2015 to verify the correct operation of the sensors. 
The goal in the near future is to validate completely the sensors, install them on the robot and create the final maps. Then, the Consortium will work in the processing of collected data and the transfer of maps to the electronic devices of the end-user.
At present, the robot mechanics and navigation capabilities are the most advanced in the project, because VineRobot moves autonomously among the vines with the ability to keep a constant distance between the sensors and the plants, which is essential for generating precise maps. In this section, over the next months, in addition to enhancing turning skills and the security features of the robot, the Consortium will build a new chassis that will improve the external appearance of VineRobot. 
The project officially ends in November 2016, when it is expected to start the commercialization phase of the Vinerobot.
A European Consortium
VineRobot is a research Consortium of 5 SME and 3 RTD European organizations that develops an autonomous robot that will measure vineyard parameters on-the-go in a non-invasive way to help winemaking decisions. 
The robot is an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that will be able to provide reliable, fast and objective information on the state of the vineyards to growers. 
VineRobot will analyse parameters like nitrogen content in leaves and  grape composition. In future, the final users may receive updated information concerning their vineyard status through their mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, computer).
“Traditionally, European vineyards have not been driven by technology. Since ancient Romans, the human eye has been the only ‘sensor’ that has steered vineyard management providing a subjective evaluation on yield, vegetative growth and plant status”, says Javier Tardáguila (Universidad de La Rioja), coordinator of the project. One of the main historical goals sought by the winemaking industry has been the accurate and objective estimation of grape yield: it is precision agriculture. 
The use of VineRobot to monitor vineyard physiological parameters and grape composition as a precision viticulture project has many advantages over simple hand-held devices for manual sampling and over unmanned aerial vehicles. 
VineRobot may provide key information regarding vineyard parameters much faster than manual (hand-held) solutions and at higher resolution, in a more flexible manner and with lower costs than aerial scouting technology carried out by drones or planes.
European Union funds
The project has received over two-million euros funding from the European Union’s Seventh Programme for research, technological development and demonstration. Universidad de La Rioja (Spain) leads the Consortium in which works Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain), Hochschule Geisenheim University (Germany), the Spanish company Avanzare, the French FORCE-A and Wall-YE, the Italian Sivis and Les Vignerons de Buzet, a wine cellar cooperative near Bordeaux (France).