John Deere and VoloCopter introduce agricultural UAV
John Deere and Volocopter have introduced a new jointly-developed agricultural unmanned aerial vehicle.
The VoloDrone UAV is equipped with a John Deere crop protection sprayer, and the companies are now anticipating the first field flight of the aircraft to transition the development of the concept into a commercial product.
The UAV has a potential payload of 200kg, and the companies says that the VoloDrone is able to cover large areas, particularly under difficult operating conditions.
The VoloDrone is powered by 18 rotors with an overall diameter of 9.2m, and features a fully-electric drive using exchangeable lithium-ion batteries.
One battery charge allows a flight time of up to 30min, and the VoloDrone can be operated remotely or automatically on a pre-programmed route.
The aircraft’s frame is fitted with a flexible standardised payload attachment system, which means that different devices can be mounted onto it depending on the application.
For crop protection, it is equipped with two capacity tanks, a pump, and a spray bar, and flexibility and GPS control means that more selective area-specific treatments can be carried out.
VoloDrone has a low flight altitude, and the companies note that it is a sustainable, precise, and cost-effective alternative to helicopters, with the potential to be used over difficult topography, offering efficiencies in the use of crop protection agents, sowing seeds and frost control.
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