The New Zealand wine industry is set to save over $20 million a year thanks to a vine pruning robot developed at the University of Canterbury. A team led by Dr Richard Green will spend the next four years developing the technology.
Using 3D imaging and night vision, the robot will be able to prune around the clock while moving at walking speed. A robot with night vision and sharp pruning shears is actually kind of scary.
“Such a fast vision-based pruning system is only possible using recently developed camera technology with efficient cutting edge computer vision-based tracking and AI algorithms,” said Dr Green. “We are leading the world with fast accurate colour 3D depth maps of vines, light robot cutting arms and the AI to coordinate this moving at walking speed. Not only can a higher quality be maintained by pruning consistently and accurately while recognising disease and age of vines, but the industry will be able to guarantee pruning within the very brief seasonal window each year.”
We always new Edward Scissorhands was a robot.