Frequently Asked Questions
THE VITIROVER SERVICE
THE AUTOMATED VITIROVER MOWER-ROBOT
The Vitirover Service
Why should chemical weeding be avoided ?
Full permanent weeding is also called non-culture. Appeared with herbicides, non-culture is the destruction of the vegetal layer using herbicides.
Alternating anti-germ and contact herbicides, the winemaker has a bare soil.
Competition for the vine is null and this way of working is the cheapest.
Its huge drawback: it will disseminate herbicide residues in the soil, that migrate into streams and groundwater. The use of herbicides is increasingly framed by legislation and the willingness of growers is greater to respond to consumer demands for healthier products.
On Novembre 27th, 2017, the 28 EU members agreed that the use of Glyphosate will be banned as soon as possible. Beyond this formal ban, the general public has understood that Glyphosate and all chemicals for controlling vegetation are dangerous for the planet and for themselves, the people of Europe and elsewhere do not want any more of these chemicals and their side effects.
Mechanical weeding has less negative impacts on environment that chemical weeding, however it sill has the following negative consequences (source C.Gaviglio - IFV Pôle Sud-Ouest) :
Dispersion of perennials with rotary tools, mainly of plants with rhizomes
Risk of injury of vine stock
Mutilation of the root system
Risk of plow line formation using rotary tools
Reduces activity of earthworms
Risk of erosion if too thin soil crumbling on slopes
Any lift in the wet season
- Diminution yields the first years
What are the benefits of weeding with Vitirover ?
Le service Vitirover offre un confort absolu :
ZERO constraint for the land owner. As soon as spring begins, when grass starts growing, our shepherds and our robots show up and take care of everything.
ZERO risk for the vines. no incident can have permanent consequences for the vine, vine will not be hurt nor cut, unlike conventional methods of vine cultivation.
ZERO failure. Our herds of robots are maintained by our team after each assignment. They can get a new assignment at any time.
ZERO surprise. Our clients have no equipment to purchase, they do not need spare parts and do not pay any maintenance fees, we take care of everything.
The Vitirover service guarantees a fully managed grassing :
allowing water not to remain on the surface and penetrate the underground
reduces the risk of botrytis and splash effect
maintains the humic layer
increases the natural resistance
The Vitirover service gets along with the Organic food and wine trends. It replaces Glyphosate :
The organic wine has increased by 10% per year. The use of VITIROVER goes along with this trend.
VVitirover is: Zero grass killer, zero fuel, zero emissions (CO, HC, NOx, particles...) and it facilitates the development of biodiversity
Addtionally, teh French Prime Minister has asked the Agriculture and Food ministry and the Ecology transition and solidarity, to present him a report showing how to get out of the use of Glyphosate before the end of the year, even though EU has authorized use of Glyphosate until 2022. Vitirover allows already to control vegetation and grassing without using Glyphosate.
Is the Vitirover service economical?
In order to estimate the savings realized thanks to Vitirover, you are invited to read the detailed report provided below.
Vitirover really offers a great cost saving solution !
Contact us to see how affordable Vitirover will make the grassing management of your pieces of land.
Thanks to the permanent and real time geolocation of our robots, it is impossible to steal a Vitirover unit. Each Vitirover robot is tracked in real time. Its location is monitored by the shepherd on his screen, even when the power supply is down because each robot features a rechargeable battery and a second GPS system to prevent theft.
Can the Vitirover service be useful for other activities than vines ?
Vines is the native environment and activity for which the robot has been designed and developed. As vineyards often have tough grounds, hard to maintain, Vitirover features a 4 wheels drive with a motor for each wheel, a solar panel and a GPS system making the unit autonomous within a programed area.
Because of all that, Vitirover is an agricultural robot that can easily adapt and manage vegetation and grassing on all large surfaces such as photovoltaic farms, grassed cimeteries, race courses, rail roads, parcs, backyards, arboriculture farms, etc.
When can I start benefiting from the Vitirover service ?
For vines, the ground must be prepared in autumn, after the harvest, as for the usual ways of weeding (chemical way for instance).
The soil should be brushed on the first 3 to 5 inches with the harrow and then reconsolidated well, for smoothness and to facilitate the work of Vitirover.
With winter, with rain and with possible freezing, the soil will be well leveled and spring grass starts its growth.
The land will be ideal for the release of Vitirover in the plot. The robot will then cut the tender grass of spring and maintain the grass at the right height to the end of its growth.
For other types of soil, a prepared ground is required. Vitirover offers a service of field preparation, once for all, before the first use of the robots.
The automated Vitirover mower robot
The "big data" robot from Vitirover comes from a project funded by the EU (1,8 M€) as part of the Eco-Innovation program. It consists of adding cameras and weather sensors onto the original Vitirover unit to:
- measure the evolution of insects populations for species such as the leafhopper.
- predict the productivity of harvests.
- measure the vineyard strength.
- establish the map of the piece of land (frost zone, water stress, vine by vine map, etc.).
The target is to know very precisely the detailed outline of the piece of land in order to dramatically reduce the use of herbicides.
Some mowers display specifications that can be compared to the Vitirover robot but these mowers have been designed for nice and clean backyards, with smooth grass.
They usually work inside a set space defined by a wire that must be installed, yard after yard. In addition, these mowers have to regularly come back to a charging station linked to a domestic power socket in order to get charged. This can't work in vines or industrial sectors such as photovoltaic farms, railroad or else.
Vitirover has been give a strong design, in order to work in any tough natural envionment (solar power, GPS, full tropicalization, etc.)
Vitirover is not a backyard tool for gardening, it is an agricultural machine of smal size.
Does Vitirover work as soon as grass is high enough or at anytime ?
Vitirover constantly mows. Its action consists of managing a controlled grassing with a set mowing height, not to get rid of the grass from time to time. Vitirover has to mow the grass quicker than it grows back.
Does Vitirover follow the vines rows or does it go through the rows ?
VITIROVER is adapted to the fragile vines, it works in the vines rows but also through the rows. VITIROVER works 80% of its time in the vines rows and 20% of its time between the vines. This is simple to understand : in the rows, there is no obstacle, robots easily go with no stops.
On the other hand, when they take care of the vines through the rows, robots meet obstacles such as the vines and the posts. The sensors start their duties then and Vitirover cuts grass down to 1 inch away from the vines.
With VITIROVER, no vine is cut or hurt. No incident can have permanent consequences for the vine, unlike conventional methods of vine cultivation.
Is there a risk of accident for the Vitirover user ?
Using one or several VITIROVER robots does not represent any danger for the user.
Of course, if someone gets his finger too close to a mowing blade while it is turning, there is a risk of cut finger that will require a band aid.
Are Vitirover robots reliable?
Although our clients do not use Vitirover robots by themselves, our robots have been designed to be very reliable.
Many safety precautions have been taken to eliminate any risks of injury for Man and animals :
- The cutting blades of the Vitirover robot are protected behind a safety grill mesh.
- The cutting blades rotation, and the robot itself, will instantly stop when the robot is lifted off the ground.
As far as insurance, the Vitirover robot is covered by the liability insurance of Vitirover, the liability insurance of the property it works for and the Vitirover multi-risk insurance.
Can Vitirover work on slopes ?
The Vitirover anti-slip wheels, combined with its powerful engines, can effortlessly overcome difficult terrain and slopes up to 15%.
As a reference, the well-known Alpes d'Huez climb only represents an average 7.9% slope while the famous Mont Ventoux climb represents an average 7.45% slope.
What are Vitirover abilities in crossings ?
LThe Vitirover robots also have a crossing capacity to run dry (stones, branches fallen onto the ground, clods, etc.). Indeed, a higher obstacle will be considered by the robot as an actual blocking obstacle (such as a vine or a post) and will be passed around.
What is the effect of bad weather on Vitirover ?
Vitirover may be exposed to very heavy rain and sunlight, in temperatures up to 45°C (113°F).
In case of storm or heat wave it is recommended to keep the Vitirover robots inside or to protect them.
Vitirover is a robust agricultural tool; however, as all your other high-tech tools, you must be vigilant, for example avoid washing your robot with high pressure water hose and particularly avoid touching the lower part of the robot.
Can I adjust the grass mowing height on Vitirover ?
Of course, the targeted height of the grass can be adjusted depending on your requirements and targets.
The Vitirover robot’s work begins with the first shoots of grass (at the beginning of spring in general) on a prepared ground (at least in the early years, to optimize the quality of work of the Vitirover robot), i.e. on a leveled ground with an early growth of grass.
Generally, you will set your robot on low position (6cm) for the first cut and when the grass grows fast.
The hotter it becomes, the more you will increase the cutting height, and then you will cut the grass higher, to avoid the drying of the soil (9 cm)
Thereafter and throughout the campaign (until early autumn, in general) the mission of your Vitirover robot will be to cut the grass a little faster than it grows.
Root depth is proportional to the height of the grass: the shorter the cut, the deeper the roots.
Your Vitirover robot will cut little amounts of grass, but it will do it permanently.
These pieces of grass (mulches) will melt into the grassed surface, nurturing it.
For the last period (early autumn), set the cutting height of the robot to its maximum (12cm).
The Vitirover robot is the first of a range currently being further developed.
With his new models, Vitirover will soon be able to offer a wider range of services to owners, productors and properties managers.
In the future the original Vitirover unit will also be able to get new added features turning our mower robot in a real scientist unit. Here are two examples :
This project has been funded by EU (0.5M€) through the Echord++ program. It consists of adding a robotised arm to automatically dispense pheromones traps creating sexual confusion for the grape worms.
Towards the end of 2018, this robot will be capable of detecting and look after each vine, as well as manipulating small objects such as pheromones dispensing.