The latest, if not the definitive, solution to combat fungal diseases such as mildew and botrytis, that unfortunately still affect a lot of crops, is called Icaro X4. Experiments are currently underway in viticulture (against downy mildew), but patents (both in Italy and abroad) have been extended to fruit growing and horticulture, as the operating principles are the same.
"Icaro X4 is the result of 28 years of research and helps prevent fungal diseases. After all, prevention is better than cure - said inventor Valter Mazzarolo, who developed the Icaro X4 together with Guido Tarticchio and Roberto Arato -The machine uses ultraviolet rays with a wavelength of 280-100 nanometers. In 2019, the system was applied in a vineyard and the results were amazing."
Icaro X4 is designed and built by the Italian Free Green Nature, located in Veneto in the province of Treviso.
The machine is completely autonomous and is guided in the field by a control unit powered by a battery and a photovoltaic panel. The electronic board is connected to about a dozen of sensors for environmental analysis. Based on the conditions in the field, the algorithm calculates if and when the crop needs an intervention and with what intensity.
The system is optimized for up to 10 hectares and the speed at which Icaro X4 moves across the field is comparable to that of a tractor. In addition, it is equipped with a Kohler 14 hp petrol engine and the GPS guidance system has a diameter of 2.5 centimeters.
"Each machine needs its own laboratory to analyze the area. We use special sensors with which we measure wind speed, temperature, humidity and rain, among other things. Using our algorithm, the conditions for a possible intervention are mapped out. Thanks to a radio signal, Icaro x4 is immediately operational," concluded Mazzarolo.