This little chap, known as Wall-Ye V.I.N., might look adorable, but he means business. With four wheels, two arms, six cameras, and on-board GPS, he’s capable of pruning 600 vines a day in order to help make the wine you swill every evening.
Developed in — surprise, surprise — France, Wall-Ye is designed to take on the more menial chores a vineyard has to offer: namely pruning vines and removing unproductive young shoots. At the same time, though, he’s capable of collecting data as he trundles around, keeping an eye on soil conditions and the state of the vines.
Its AI brain, far from booze-sozzled, allows it to gradually create an accurate map of the vineyard, learning as it goes, and its cameras mean it can recognise plant features. All-told, it looks like it could replace vineyard workers if they’re not careful.
Indeed, the robot is about to be trialled at Bordeaux’s Chateau Mouton-Rothschild — probably the most exclusive vineyard in the world. If that’ goes well, it could well seal Wall-Ye’s fate. Something better had, at any rate, because otherwise the $US32,000 price tag will no doubt deter many a wine producer. [Wall-Ye via AFP via Verge]