With the ICARO X4, an Italian company recently presented a robot for viticulture. It is intended to combat mold and fungi using UV-C rays.

The digitalization of our working environment is already visible in many areas. While we often interact with intelligent algorithms, other industries are now relying on robotics. This also applies to Italian winemakers. For some time now, a small farm robot has been used in the vineyards of Italy.

The digital helper uses an innovative method to combat harmful fungus and mildew – by irradiating it with UV-C rays. Italian equipment manufacturer Maschio Gaspardo developed the robot called ICARO X4. The company designed it specifically for use in vineyards.

To do this, the system autonomously navigates through the vineyards and collects humidity and temperature data. By combining the collected data and locally adapted weather model algorithms, the robot determines the optimal time to treat the plants.

ICARO X4 reduces the use of pesticides in viticulture

What is crucial is that the ICARO X4 does this without the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides. The robot includes 16 core components, each of which performs a specific function. The heart of the system are the large, fold-out UV-C radiation panels.

These send UV-C rays of a specific wavelength onto the plant. The radiation triggers a biological mechanism that stimulates the plant's immune defenses. At the same time, the approach prevents the formation of pathogens such as powdery mildew, downy mildew and botrytis (gray mold).

Equipped with the UV light-generating panels between the axes, the ICARO X4 positions itself above the vines and stops a few centimeters from the leaves for optimal treatment. According to the manufacturer, each robot can protect up to 15 hectares of vineyards from fungi and mildew and reduce the use of chemical fungicides by 70 percent.

ICARO X4 works for up to three days at a time

The ICARO X4 is equipped with electric motors as standard. A range-extending option is also available with a 2-cylinder Kohler diesel engine. The drive allows the robot to work for up to 72 hours at a time during the summer months. Mold and mildew are particularly common in the warm season.

Maschio Gaspardo recently presented the ICARO X4 at World FIRA and announced that five such robots are already in use in France and Italy. The company plans to sell more models to interested farmers throughout the year. Each model costs €115,000 and could help reduce pesticide use in the future. So tomorrow's agriculture seems greener than ever.

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Source: https://www.basicthinking.de/blog/2024/02/17/icaro-x4-weinbau/

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