Irrigation robots could help grow wine grapes in California

RAPID robot-assisted precision irrigation delivery

Faced with shortages of water and workers, winemakers are working with CITRIS researchers at UC Merced and UC Berkeley on a robot-assisted precision irrigation delivery system that uses machines to monitor and adjust water emitters.

Engadget: We all know by now that robots are the future of farming, and things are no different for winemakers in The Golden State. Faced with the shortage of water and workers, they asked researchers from the University of California to create an irrigation system that needs minimal human input. What the team came up with is a system called Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery (RAPID) that uses a machine to monitor and adjust water emitters attached to irrigation lines.

The researchers have been working to advance and refine the system since 2016, and RAPID is actually the second version of the project. In a new report, IEEE The Institute talks about where the researchers are with it, a bit over a year after it received a $1 million grant from the Department of Agriculture. The publication says team leader and UC professor Stefano Carpin is currently testing the system using an unmanned ground vehicle, but that he intends to build a specialized machine for it.

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Photo by Thomas Thayer