Friday, 14 February 2020 10:59

Huge drone set to soar into Ag sector

Written by  Mark Daniel
John Deere and Volocopter's VoloDrone. John Deere and Volocopter's VoloDrone.

Global manufacturer John Deere is collaborating with German company Volocopter to develop large drones for agricultural use.

A demonstration of the VoloDrone was shown at the recent 2019 Agritechnica Event, equipped with a JD spray rig – making good use of the machine’s 200kg load capacity.

Powered by 18 rotors, giving it an overall diameter of 9.2 metres, the unit incorporates a fully electric drive system using replaceable lithium-ion batteries, said to offer flight times of up to 30 minutes.

The drone uses a standardised payload attachment system, meaning a variety of implements can be easily attached and carried. In the case of the sprayer unit – seeing twin spray tanks, a pump and spray boom. The company suggests that the set-up has a capacity to cover up to 6ha/hr, with less noise and improved spray management than conventional helicopters, largely due to its low attitude in flight.

Both partners of the collaboration suggest that for agriculture, the concept will offer benefits in areas of poor topography, along with uses in the crop protection, seed distribution and frost control.

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