Will Electric Robots be the Future of Viticulture?
The Rothschild have given us a clue…
Château Clerc Milon, a Pauillac wine estate under the same ownership as Château Mouton Rothschild (the Baron Philippe de Rothschild group), tested a new robot prototype that is able to handle various viticulture tasks in the vineyard.
Robotics and automation are common now in many industries. Needless to say, that technology is changing the world at a fast pace these days. Just think of the break-through innovations and the electric autonomy introduced by Tesla recently in the automotive industry.
Yet, the wine industry is often, rightly or wrongly, considered quite traditional if not traditionalist in some regards. This is probably especially in the Old World’s European vineyards.
Yet, this innovation came perhaps from the least expected place, the heart of the top estate vineyards in Médoc, Bordeaux region.
Tuesday 28th of November 2017 marked the important development of an ambitious project and a partnership between Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Naïo Technologies started earlier this year in June: the first trials in Pauillac vineyards of TED, a multi-purpose straddling electric robot designed to help cultivating soils in high-density vineyards.
Like many actors of the wine production industry, the Baron Philippe de Rothschild group has been committed to reducing its environmental impact through measures such as banning chemical weed killers in its vineyards, reducing by 30% its frequency of treatment since 2008.
The new TED robot, not only is able to kill weeds by cultivating the soil in the vineyard rows (see video below), hence using a mechanical treatment as opposed to a chemical one, but being electric, it would also reduce emissions replacing for some tasks the heavy diesel tractors.
It also represents an advantage in terms of soil compaction.
Philippe Dhalluin, Managing Director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild said:
“We see robotics as an effective solution for the future. As well as helping to make our vineyard work less arduous and respecting the soil, it will reduce our dependency on fossil energies and the harm caused by traditional agricultural machinery. It was Naïo’s development of a robot designed for vegetable farming that first caught our eye in 2015. We suggested working together on a project for a vineyard robot suited to the particular problems we face in the vines at Château Clerc Milon.”
Enough said, watch the video below to get an idea of what TED could do, autonomously:
About Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA
Chaired by Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Baron Philippe de Rothschild is a French joint-stock company with a Supervisory Board and an Executive Committee. It has two distinct lines of business, the Estates and Branded wines, united under a single management in the same pursuit of excellence. The company manages three classified growths in the Pauillac appellation, including the illustrious Château Mouton Rothschild. It also produces and sells a range of high-quality branded wines which it sources from its many partner growers then blends, matures and bottles itself, foremost among them the famous Mouton Cadet.
More info on bpdr.com
About Naïo Technologies
Naïo Technologies was created in 2011 by Gaëtan Séverac, a robotics engineer with a doctorate in embedded systems, and Aymeric Barthes, a robotics engineer with a farming background, with the aim of helping farmers to solve some of their many problems. Committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR), they have a team of 25 employees and shareholders who share their convictions and understand the challenges facing a start-up. 100 Naïo Technologies robots are already in use and the company expects sales of €1.2 million in 2017, twice as much as in 2016.
More info on naio-technologies.com
Also check out this video of another important innovation in the wine industry that many wineries use to improve their crop: an optical grape sorting machine. Especially watch the particularly-telling slow-mo around 1’40: