A vine-pruning robot is set to "transform" the New Zealand wine industry with the stated and absolute intention of replacing humans. What's wrong with humans, you ask? Isn't cheap, migrant labor inexpensive enough? No, it's not. In New Zealand, almost half of the operating costs for winemakers is manual labor, especially with things like pesky labor laws and human rights getting in the way. So it's time for the robots to step in.
In fact, the winemakers were the ones who sought help to "see whether there is a way to cope with this problem they have of having to bring in overseas labour and do it in a very short seasonal window,” Dr Richard Green, of Canterbury University told 3News.
Using the latest 3D camera technology, the robots can ostensibly make perfect cuts every time, don't slack off like humans do, and even better: they don't need to sleep: "It can see in the dark, meaning it will be able to operate around the clock." Clearly from the video, the vine-pruning robot is still in a testing phase, but it's a sign of things to come. Either way, a robot armed with sharp blades? That can't end well.
Video: Vine-Pruning Robots