Drones are essential to precision agriculture, in which water, fertilizer, and pesticides are applied by aerial drones. Not only can farmers target the amounts applied to crops and save costs, but they can also more closely monitor conditions. UAVOS Inc. yesterday announced the addition of the R22-UV unmanned helicopter to its fleet of aircraft for precision farming. The company converted a Robinson-22 helicopter into an unmanned vehicle.
“Farmers today have a variety of complex factors that influence the success of their farms,” Aliaksei Stratsilatau, CEO of UAVOS, told The Robot Report. “From water access to changing climate, wind, soil quality, the presence of weeds and insects, variable growing seasons, and more. With spot spraying afforded by drones, this same task can be accomplished in less time, with fewer monetary resources, and a reduced environmental cost.”
Mountain View, Calif.-based UAVOS develops hardware and software for precision agriculture, integrates turnkey solutions, and converts manned aircraft into unmanned vehicles. It also designs, develops, and manufactures components such as servo drives, pan-tilt platforms, and rescue and emergency landing systems. UAVOS and Stratodynamics recently set a record altitude of 30km (18.6 mi.) with the HiDRON high-altitude drone operating beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) from Canada.
The R22-UV has a custom-developed Simplex Model 222 spray system weighing 42kg (92.59 lb.), and it can carry a 100-liter (26.4 gallon) tank. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can stay aloft for two hours, and its spray boom is 7 meters (22.9 ft.) wide, with a swath width of 14 to 16m (45.9 to 52.4 ft.).
R22-UV offers heavy lifting for farmers
According to UAVOS, the R22-UV is a good replacement for backpack sprayers and conventional piloted aircraft. The unmanned helicopter does not require an airfield or runway, it reduces exposure of workers to hazardous chemicals, and it enables more precise spraying for weed, pest, and disease control, said the company.
In addition, the RV22-UV eliminates the need for equipment to roll over soil in highly humid environments, where heavy wheels could damage crops. With UAVs such as the R22-UV, farmers can more precisely track the usage and effectiveness of spraying, said UAVOS.
“Precision agriculture is based on the use of valuable metrics to make farmers’ crop management efficient and optimized,” stated Aliaksei Stratsilatau, CEO of UAVOS. “Validating-of-damage reports used to be on paper. So, unmanned aircraft help our customers to validate the veracity of reports so that we could come up with a comprehensive solution.”
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The global market for precision agriculture will experience a compound annual growth rate of 18% between 2019 and 2025, predicted Markets and Markets. Similarly, Grand View Research forecast a CAGR of 14.2% for the same period. While the exact amounts and methodologies of such studies may differ, they and other analyst firms agreed that growth has been strong in North America, thanks to the adoption of remote sensors, high-precision positioning systems, and mobile devices such as drones.
UAVOS Inc. is a unit of Hong Kong-based UAVOS Holdings Ltd., which employs more than 90 people around the world. Its products include the ApusDuo high-altitude, solar-powered pseudo-satellite for the observation of large areas. The company serves the industrial and military markets and is a member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI).