[...] Wall-Ye, a vineyard-tending robot being developed in France. Wall-Ye costs a hefty €25,000 (US $32,000), but for that price, according to the AFP, it can "move from vine to vine, recognise plant features, capture and record data, memorise each vine, synchronise six cameras and guide its arms to wield tools." The solar-powered Wall-Ye can prune 600 vines per day and even collect data on soil and fruit. It even has an anti-theft device that causes the hard drive to self-destruct if the GPS detects it's been removed from the vineyard.
Christophe Millot (R) and Guy Julien pose in vineyards with the Wall-Ye V.I.N. robot that they created on September 13, 2012 near Chalon-sur-Saone. Photo courtesy: AFP
Sales demonstrations are about to begin, and big name French vintners like Bordeaux's First Growth Chateau Mouton-Rothschild have offered their vineyards as a venue for the 20-kilogramme (44-pound) robot to put on its show.
Wall-Ye draws on tracking technology, artificial intelligence and mapping to move from vine to vine, recognise plant features, capture and record data, memorise each vine, synchronise six cameras and guide its arms to wield tools.
White with red trim, 50 centimetres (20 inches) tall and 60 wide, it also has an in-built security mechanism is designed to thwart would-be robot snatchers.
"It has a GPS, and if it finds itself in a non-designated vineyard, it won't start. It also has a gyroscope so it knows if it's been lifted off the ground," Millot said.