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Italian ICARO X4 Robot decides when to combat fungi in vineyards

09-02 | |
Maschio Gaspardo expects to sell approximately 5 ICARDO X4 robots in Italy and France in 2024. In 2023, 5 units were already in operation. - Photo: Maschio Gaspardo
Maschio Gaspardo expects to sell approximately 5 ICARDO X4 robots in Italy and France in 2024. In 2023, 5 units were already in operation. - Photo: Maschio Gaspardo

The ICARO X4 robot from Italian manufacturer Maschio Gaspardo not only navigates autonomously through vineyards but also determines the best time to combat harmful fungi such as botrytis and mildew using UV-C radiation.

For UV-C radiation treatment, the robot is equipped with panels on both sides between the axles that can fold in and out like wings. During operation, the panels bend over the tops of the vines and stop a few centimeters away from the leaves for optimal treatment. The robot is powered by a small Kohler 2-cylinder diesel engine with a generator that charges the batteries when they are low. With a 70-liter diesel tank, the ICARO X4 can work continuously for up to 24 hours a day and for three consecutive days. Navigation is achieved through RTK-GNSS combined with internal 3D sensors.

Navigate autonomously

As mentioned, the idea is that the robot can navigate autonomously through a vineyard and, more importantly, decide when the optimal moment is to combat fungi with UV-C radiation based on factors such as humidity and temperature, using its own weather station and locally trained algorithms.

According to the manufacturer, such a robot can keep approximately 10 to 15 hectares of vineyard free from fungi, potentially reducing fungicide use by 50 to 70 percent. However, this comes with a price tag of around € 115,000 for the winemaker.

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Hekkert
Geert Hekkert Chief editor of Future Farming





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