In 2019, Domaine L&R Kox, in collaboration with Luxaviation Drone S.A., has been running a pilot project on the application of phytosanitary products by drone. Since 2021, the Domain has been participating, together with the University of Luxembourg, in a research and development project called "SESAME" (Secure and Safe Multi-Robot-Systems). The task is to develop and optimise systems for multiple interconnected robots. The project is co-financed by the EU with an investment of 7 million euros.

Since the appearance of devastating fungi on vine varieties at the end of the 19th century, particularly powdery mildew and mildew, winegrowers have had to fight cryptogamic diseases. Curative treatments to prevent the development of the cryptogamic diseases are currently not available. Winegrowers, therefore, are obliged to preventively protect the vines at regular time intervals. The reduction of inputs is a strategic challenge for the entire wine sector in terms of ecology and respect for the environment, brand image and financial costs. Contributions to the reduction of inputs in vine cultivation are made at several levels: the search for varieties more resistant to cryptogamic diseases (e.g. Cabernet Blanc, Pinotin etc), as well as the quantity and quality of spraying by influencing the choice of spraying equipment used, the preparation of dilutions or the application conditions.

Therefore Domaine L&R Kox, together with Luxaviation Drone, launched a pilot project for the spraying of Luxembourg vineyards by means of drones this July 2019 in the Mosel wine region. The project was initialized by Corinne Kox, our young winemaker with a passion for new technologies applied in viticulture.

During the second week of July 2019, instructor pilots experienced in aerial spraying, successfully flew equipment tests, followed by effective spraying with organic phytosanitary products in our vineyards.

Drones are part of a larger trend of data-driven agri- and viticulture and a movement towards higher efficiency and accuracy, reduced erosion, preserving the environment, reducing the noise pollution to neighbourhood and potentially enhancing the quality of the final product. Corinne says: “The many tests undertaken in research centres on using drones in vineyard treatments show the relevance of the unmanned aircraft as a promising tool in terms of input reduction, accuracy and protection of the soil and the environment. Smarter and more sustainable viticulture will be facilitated as a result of greater flexibility of spraying equipment used and adaptability in treatment schedules.”

SESAME, Secure and Safe Multi-Robot-Systems

A consortium of leading European universities and research institutes, technology specialists and robot manufacturers has been commissioned to develop safe and reliable multi-robot systems. Our winery, Domaine L&R Kox, is participating in this project, together with SnT from the University of Luxembourg, the Luxembourg company Luxsense geodata and the Swiss drone manufacturer Aero41, for the "viticulture" part. The research and development project called "SESAME" (Secure and Safe Multi-Robot-Systems) was launched at the beginning of the year by the EU with an investment of 7 million euros.

Through the pan-European collaboration of numerous universities and industrial organisations, the aim is to develop and optimise systems for multiple interconnected robots. On the one hand, to increase the variability of use in viticulture and agriculture, and on the other hand, to eliminate the uncertainties that currently exist with regard to the safety and protection of multi-robot systems (MRS) in the future.

“We will use a set of methodologies, analyses and processes to develop a multi-robot system to be applied for crop protection and disease detection in vineyards”, said Corinne. “Crop growth modelling and disease detection will be key to contribute significantly to environmental sustainability in viticulture.”

The SESAME project is financed in part by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, an initiative of the European Community created to foster European research and development of new technologies, applications and industries. The SESAME project will run through the end of 2023.

Residents of the municipalities Remich, Stadtbredimus and Schengen will be regularly informed about UAV flights on the website www.protvigne.org.

About the project in the media:
Television report by RTL.LU (LU)
Television report by RTBF (FR)
Article by Le Quotidien (FR)
Article by La Revue du Vin de France (FR)
Article by msn.com AFP (EN)
Article by chronicle.lu (EN)