Top Agricultural Crop Spraying Drone Systems for 2017

The interest in drones for agricultural crop spraying continues to grow as does the corresponding options for UAV platforms increases. From the Yamaha UAV helicopters that have serviced Japan for more than 20 years to DJI’s premier intelligent multicopter, the MG-1S, there are a number of options for the precision application of liquid pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides on agricultural land. Here are top platform options from around the world … Japan, China, France, and India.

Yamaha RMAX (Japan)

Probably one of the first UAV crop sprayers, the Yamaha R-MAX and its predecessor, the Yamaha R-50, were developed in the 1990s in response to demand in the Japanese market for aerial agricultural spraying. Fixed-wing manned crop dusters had been in use in Japan for many years, but the small size of most Japanese farms meant that this method was inefficient. Manned helicopters were sometimes used for spraying, but were very expensive. The R-MAX allowed much more precise small-scale spraying, at a lower cost and lower risk than manned aircraft. The RMAX is a gasoline powered two-stroke engine with an estimated 1 hour of flight time. It has 2 x 8 liter spray tanks. As of 2014 there were over 2,900 Yamaha helicopters in operation. For more details read the full article/post on the RMAX

DJI (China)

DJI AGRAS MG-1S agri spray drone
DJI’s Agras MG-1 agri drone is an octocopter designed for precision variable rate application of liquid pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides. It can carry up to 10kg of liquid payload with around up to 10 minutes of flight time for spraying applications. The intelligent spraying system automatically adjusts its spray according to the flying speed so that an even spray is always applied and through a combination of cooling and filtering designs DJI indicates that expected lifespan of each motor is increased by up to three times in the dusty and extreme crop spraying environment. With intelligent flying modes like the Smart mode, the flight can be easily planned with the press of a few buttons, without the need for mapping knowledge or other software the MG-1 automatically records its current and remembers its past coordinates as it makes its way across the field in case the operation is interrupted, for example due to depleted battery or spraying liquid so the flight can be resumed from the last point in its memory after changing the battery or refilling its tank. And with the terrain follow feature, By integrating a microwave radar together with the MG-1’s intelligent flight control system, the aircraft is able to scan the below terrain in real-time, and adjust to keep a constant, centimeter accurate, height above crops. Spray density is maintained even as the terrain rises and drops, so that the optimal amount of liquid is applied at all times. For more details read the full article/post on the DJI agri drone

OPTiM (Japan)

The OPTim Agri Drone is a joint project among a university, local government and IT company in Japan. With multi-spectrum image analysis capabilities it is able to identify pockets of insects for which it can then do a precise, pinpoint attack on those areas with pesticides or other chemicals. For detailed information read the full article/post on the OPTim Agri Drone

Drone Volt (France)

Drone Volt offers the Hercules 20 Sprayer Drone designed for an accurate and constant spraying of various surface treatment applications such as liquid pesticides and fertilizers. The flow is manually (with the RC) or automatically adjustable via the application / flight controller.  The drone is a fully foldable system that makes it ultra compact to facilitate transport.
The tank with integrated pump can load up to 12 liters for crop spraying, with a spraying width up to 3 meters.  The Hercules 20 can carry up to a 20 kg payload and can provide up to 12 min flight time with a 20kg payload.   The drone’s tank is fully interchangeable and easy to remove thanks to the quick release system.  Supported payloads in addition to the sprayer systems are 3D Lidar and camera gimbals.

Source: Drone Volt

enRoute (Japan)

enRoute AC1500 agri spray drone
Available in Japan currently, Japan commercial drone manufacturer enRoute introduced at an expo their new Zion AC1500 agriculture multicopter. The new model AC 1500 is for larger agriculture operations then its current AC940-D model. It can carry up to 9 liters of liquid agent and spray up to 1 ha in 10 minutes. In addition, it supports not only liquid but also granular agent spraying can be supported.

Shenzhen GC Electronic (China)

Shenzhen GC Electronics agricultural drone
Shenzhen GC Electronic offers several sprayer models, including the JMR-X1380S which is a quadcopter crop sprayer capable of carring a 10kg payload and flight time of 13-17min with load.  The system has a spray width adjustable to 3-6 meters.  A flight control system with GPS, electronic compass and barometer the platform has intelligent spray modes for stop spray while hovering and point auto navigation with fixed speed. The company also offers 6 and 8 rotor models for payloads of up to 20kg.

Source: Shenzhen GC Electronic


India University Agricultural Drone

The India drone manufacturing market is showing some signs of growth with several companies pursuing the industry.  For agricultural spraying multicopters, The Hindu recently reported that the Department of Agriculture Machines and Technology of the University of Agricultural Sciences had developed a multicopter for spraying pesticides on high and tall crops, particularly horticulture crops and paddy that always stand on water-filled fields. The equipment has a global positioning system which will help the drone spray pesticide on a particular area or field through satellite signals based on the field map provided.

Source: The Hindu

READ MORE: Top India Drone Companies To Watch

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Feature Image: YouTube/DJI