Given the absence of power outlets in many remote buildings on New Zealand farms, there’s every chance of ending up with a flat battery when away from civilisation for an extended period.
Working with long-standing development partners Maison Hennessy and Bernard Magrez, the technological and mechanical improvements are the result of feedback provided by around 20 winegrowers who have used Ted for the past three years, resulting in a new version, now ready for mass production.
The unique robot features a centrally-mounted parallelogram lifting system that can use two tools simultaneously, mounted to a multi-purpose pole. With its robust frame and a bigger electrical motor, the 900kg unit can operate at speeds of up to 4km/h for up to eight hours before recharging is necessary.
Its light weight means that it reduces compaction typically seen with conventional tractors, while also having excellent “climbing” capacity in sloping vineyards. The new design features modular arches, meaning the machine can easily be configured to suit individual vineyard types, such as narrow or high vines layouts.
Much of the concept and design of the platform were thought out while maximising the machine’s safety features, which now means Ted slows down as it approaches an obstacle, and halts the unit immediately if an obstacle is touched.