Australian agtech company The Yield has partnered with Yamaha Motor Co to trial new robotic technology, which optimises yield prediction in wine grapes for Treasury Wine Estates (TWE).
The collaboration will see Yamaha’s robotics platform work with The Yield’s microclimate, software, analytics, and AI platform to help improve harvest prediction accuracy by gaining growth state data through visual data collection.
The trial will also aim to test and develop new autonomous robotic technology, as well as spray effectiveness, by “integrating weather data and spray guidelines to maximise autonomous spray efficiency”.
The Yield founder and managing director Ros Harvey said that there has been accelerated demand for robotics globally, particularly in intensive irrigated crops, with the trend likely to grow.
“We know from customers in Australia that we can double the effective spray windows for robots using our patented microclimate and growth stage predictions,” said Harvey.
“This improves robotic spray efficiency and effectiveness whilst improving environmental performance. At the same time, the robots can passively collect visual data that we can feed back into our algorithms to continually improve them. It’s a win win.”
TWE general manager company vineyards Greg Pearce said the company is committed to taking an integrated approach to sustainability to manage risks and make the most of new, emerging opportunities.
“TWE is focused on cultivating a brighter future for everyone who touches our business and products, and this includes investing in new technology and innovations to adapt to the climate trends impacting our business,” said Pearce.
“TWE is proud of our ongoing partnership with The Yield to improve the predictability of weather and climate, crop yield, harvest timing and fruit grading – all critical drivers of wine quality.
This latest industry-leading collaboration brings together our viticulture and winemaking expertise with world class robotics and automation to enable us to better predict optimal harvest opportunities and efficiently irrigate our vineyards,”
The trial will take place in TWE vineyards later this year and in US west coast early next year.
The R&D project is set to run for 18 months, with The Yield and Yamaha looking to negotiate commercial arrangements and bring a joint solution for intensive irrigated crops to international markets in early 2023.