Following from the successful Viticulture 4.0 Digital Infrastructure Project, Antobot is deepening its expertise in the growing viticulture sector through the VISTA (Vineyard Information System for Technology and Automation) project.
The project is led by a consortium of industry leading partners and will start by digitally mapping vineyards at the row and individual vine level. The VISTA project is a collaboration between Antobot and other domain experts and partners including: Agri-EPI Centre, Outfield Technologies, Vinescapes, JoJo’s Vineyard, and University of Lincoln.
With brilliant progress in bringing technological innovations to the soft fruit industry (see Project Insight), Antobot is responding to grower feedback to expand its presence in the UK viticulture industry.
The UK is rapidly growing into a key winemaking nation with award-winning wines. 9 million bottles were produced by almost 900 vineyards last year, up from just 360 in 2006, with UK wine production expected to double in 10 years to 20 million bottles. However, vineyards are facing rising labour costs, changing climate, and pressure to reduce fertiliser and pesticide use.
Aim of the VISTA project
Funded by Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme in partnership with UKRI’s Transforming Food Production Challenge, the VISTA project aims to create a high precision, high resolution map capturing the key attributes of vineyards (individual vines, support posts etc).
By keeping the software open and flexible, this will create a common digital infrastructure for vineyards across the world enabling faster and more accurate precision technology driven by data.
Robotics and the VISTA-Map
A detailed accurate digital map is key for the successful operation of agri-robotics on farm. Antobot will be leading the integration of the VISTA-Map with autonomous robotics, ensuring that the information can be easily understood and utilised by Antobot’s robot platform and existing autonomous navigation.
VISTA will show the use of agri-robotics for improved yield estimation and precision application of chemicals. Improving yield estimation using Antobot’s Insight will enable growers to secure better crop prices and reduce waste by increasing forecast confidence for wineries, thereby avoiding unprocessed grapes and underutilised winery space. The mapped per-vine information on yield will increase efficiency by optimising the number and location of pickers, bins and trucks during harvest time. Precision application of chemicals will reduce costs for growers and environmental impact of vineyards.
From the partners:
Marc Jones, VP Commercial of Antobot
“The team at Antobot are really looking forward to creating a digital friendly vineyard environment to accelerate robotics and provide new tools and capabilities for wine growers. The VISTA project will continue the ground-breaking work and bring together a fantastic consortium to ensure the UK wine industry not only meets the current challenges but thrives in the future”.
Eliot Dixon, Head of Engineering at Agri-EPI Centre
“The agricultural industry has a strong need for increased data integration to unlock the true potential of precision agriculture across all sectors. As an industry which is inherently focussed on infrastructure, the key to getting this integration right is being able to communicate in a language-focussed infrastructure. This is what VISTA is all about as a project, creating a mapping standard for agriculture that allows robotics, drones, sensors and decision support tools to communicate, integrate their data and provide maximum benefit for farmers. Viticulture is just the start; we hope to see this basic principle being used in other sectors.”
Ian Beecher-Jones, Co-owner of JoJo’s Vineyard
“JoJo’s Vineyard is delighted to be the lead vineyard in the VISTA project. We have been developing precision viticultural technologies for the last couple of years and have a strong belief the project will continue the work we have achieved in the Innovate UK Viticulture 4.0 project, which highlighted the importance of establishing a robust digital infrastructure on which all other technologies can work efficiently and effectively.”
Oli Hilbourne, CEO and Co-Founder at Outfield Technologies
“The VISTA Project is a great example of the strength of UK innovation funding, bringing together technology companies, growers and academic partners to solve specific industry challenges. The UK’s wine industry is growing rapidly, learning best practice from other wine growing regions. With VISTA, the UK wine industry has an opportunity to set the international standard and export our knowledge to the rest of the wine growing world. We are really excited to get started on the project and work with UK vineyards to drive increases in productivity.”
Read more with external news coverage of the VISTA project: