TWE to drive robotic innovation in agriculture

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has announced its duo-partnership with The Yield Technology Solutions and Yamaha Motor Co. to optimise yield prediction in wine grapes and to improve autonomous crop spraying with the use of robots.

The trial will commence in TWE vineyards in Australia later this year and the West Coast of the US from early next year, and will bring together Yamaha’s robotics platform with The Yield’s microclimate, software, analytics, and AI platform.

Yamaha is a leader in robotics in intensive irrigated crops and already provides commercial services in the US.

The trial aims to improve harvest prediction accuracy by gathering growth stage data through visual data collection.

It also aims to test and develop emerging autonomous robot technology, and optimise spray effectiveness by integrating weather data and spray guidelines to maximise autonomous spray efficiency.

Jim Aota, CEO and managing director of Yamaha Motor Ventures and Laboratory Silicon Valley said, “We are excited to be working with a world-leading analytics business like The Yield”.

“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.”

Ros Harvey, founder and managing director of The Yield said, “We know from customers in Australia that we can double the effective spray windows for robots using our patented microclimate and growth stage predictions”.

“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.

“We’re seeing an accelerated demand for robotics globally particularly in intensive irrigated crops. This trend is likely to grow.”

Greg Pearce, general manager – company vineyards of Treasury Wine Estates said, “As custodian of some of the world’s most iconic wine brands and with a large global agricultural footprint, TWE 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.

“TWE is proud of its 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.”

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 in early 2023.

Image: The equipment featured in this image is a prototype and not the exact model that will be used. Credit: TWE.


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