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French vineyards look to robots as new source of manual labor

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Wall-Ye robot
Wall-Ye robot

Robots are no strangers to jobs in manufacturing, but in France they may soon expand into the wine business. As the AFP reports, a new robot (known as Wall-Ye) has been designed specifically to help winemakers with its ability to prune vines — in fact, its creators say that it can prune up to 600 each day. And for vineyards, the machine has more to offer than just manual labor, as Wall-Ye also has the added ability to record data on plants and soil using six built-in cameras. It also includes a GPS and gyroscope that serve as a security feature, so that the robot knows when it's not where it should be. "If that happens, the hard-drive self-destructs and the robot sends a message to the winegrower: 'Help!'" says creator Christophe Millot. Wall-Ye will soon perform sales demonstrations for a number of vintners in the country, though those who want the robotic helper will need to spend around $32,000 for its services.