The Yield Technology Solutions, Australian agricultural technology company, has announced a R&D project with global wine company, Treasury Wine Estates, and global technology giant, Yamaha Motors. The project will optimise yield production in wine grapes and improve autonomous crop spraying, using robots.
A trial will begin in Treasury Wine Estate’s vineyards in Australia later this year and the West Coats in the US early next year. It will bring together Yamaha’s robotics platform and The Yield’s microclimate, software, analytics and AI.
The aim is to improve harvest prediction accuracy, gathering growth stage data via data collection. It will also test and develop emerging autonomous spray robot technology and optimise spray effectiveness, by using weather data and spray guidelines to maximise spray efficiency.
“We are excited to be working with a world-leading analytics business like The Yield,” Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley, Inc. managing director and CEO Jim Aota said.
“We see this symbiotic relationship between analytics and robotics as the future for intensive irrigated crops. It is advantageous for customers and better for the environment.”
Based on other projects undertaken in Australia, The Yield is confident in doubling effective spray windows for robots using its patented microclimate and growth stage predictions, The Yield founder and managing director Ros Harvey said.
“This improves robotic spray efficiency and effectiveness whilst improving environmental performance,” Harvey said.
“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.”
“We’re seeing an accelerated demand for robotics globally particularly in intensive irrigated crops. This trend is likely to grow.”
As custodian of some of the world’s most iconic wine brands, with a large global agricultural footprint, Treasury Wine Estates is committed to sustainably manage risks and maximise opportunities, Treasury Wine Estates general manager Company Vineyards Greg Pearce said.
“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,” Pearce said.
“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,” he said.
During the 18-month R&D project, The Yield and Yamaha will negotiate commercial arrangements to bring a joint solution for intensive irrigated crops to international markets by early 2022.