Should a drone be used in agriculture

John Deere shows giant drones for agriculture

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Product novelty
Thomas Göggerle, agricultural today
on Thursday, November 7th, 2019 - 9:06 am (comment now)

John Deere and Volocopter are presenting a large drone with a diameter of almost 10 m at Agritechnica. As a first application, the giant drone has a plant protection container and a linkage attached. These are the details.

John Deere and the Volocopter company cooperate and develop a large drone for agriculture together. The special thing about it: So far, small drones have mainly been used in agriculture for inventory control and mapping (agrarheute-Ratgeber: Which drone is right for me?). The VoloDrone is said to be the first large drone designed for agricultural use. It is fully functional and ready to be used for the first time. The payload is 200 kg. For crop protection, the large drone is equipped with two crop protection agent containers, a pump and a spray bar.

Drone prototype for practical use in agriculture

According to John Deere, the large drone is the result of an intensive collaboration between John Deere and the urban air mobility pioneer Volocopter. Volocopter is headquartered in Bruchsal, Baden-Württemberg, where John Deere also produces cabs at one location. Volocopter specializes in large drones that are to be used as air taxis in large cities. Both companies see great potential for the use of the VoloDrone in agriculture. The development of this prototype is a first step to present this new technology to the market and to be able to test the VoloDrone under real conditions.

VoloDrone - these are the technical details of the large electric drone

The VoloDrone is powered by 18 rotors and has a diameter of 9.2 m and has a fully electric drive with exchangeable lithium-ion batteries. One battery charge enables a flight time of up to 30 minutes. The VoloDrone is equipped with a standardized fastening system. This should enable the assembly of different devices for different uses.

For crop protection, the large drone is equipped with two crop protection agent containers, a pump and a spray bar. Thanks to the low flight altitude, areas of up to 6 ha per hour can be achieved and spray management improved. Due to the higher flexibility and the GPS control, part-area-specific treatments are also possible. This makes the VoloDrone a sustainable, effective and extremely economical alternative to helicopters.

Fly by remote control or automatically - first tests planned

The VoloDrone flies both remotely and automatically on a preprogrammed route. In the opinion of the two companies, the VoloDrone is a sustainable, effective and extremely economical alternative to helicopters. Flight and application tests are to be carried out in the future.

With material from John Deere, Volocopter