With the emergence of UAV technology, the agriculture industry is increasingly turning to drones to do tasks that tractors and other wheel-bound machinery cannot.
Agriculture service provider Chufangagri, from Anyang, China, has developed a new plant-spraying helicopter called 3WQF170 after five years of R&D, the company says on its website.
The 3WQF170 has "the advantages of long endurance, high efficiency, and easy maintenance," the company says.
"It is a powerful tool for your plant protection work. It is easy to operate [due to] many advanced functions, such as autonomous flight, breakpoint return, and obstacle avoidance."
The UAV helicopter is made of five main modules, including the power system, and flight control system — Chufangagri says each of these modules is easily taken apart for maintenance.
The company manufactures the helicopter's power system at its own plant in China, while parts can be easily shipped to users for repair and maintenance.
Automatic, manual control and high payload
There is a choice for manual and automatic control — manual allows the user to control the UAV remotely, while automatic has the vehicle's AI control the flight path.
The helicopter can be "widely used for different crops and plants, especially for large fields and fruit trees," the company's webpage explains.
The UAV measures 220 cm (86 inches) in length, 62 cm (25 inches) in width, and 72 cm (28 inches) in height. It has a net weight of 35 kg (77 lbs), a total take-off weight of 60kg, and can carry payloads — such as the various sprays needed for plant protection — of up to 18kg.
Crop-spraying drones are, of course, not a completely new development: in 2019, drone startup Volocopter announced it would partner with John Deere for a commercial unmanned aerial aircraft.