John Deere drones lift off
A ‘Nest’ of drones were among the wide array of future technology unveiled by John Deere at the recent Agritechnica show.
The green giant sees the drone development as a way to deliver precisely targeted applications, with no soil compaction while also providing a big reduction in chemical use.
While releasing little detailed information, the video clearly shows the way it’s thinking and route it’s taking. Housed in their own mini hangers, which can be stacked to form a ‘nest’ the drones are designed for fully autonomous, remote operation.
They first scan fields to identify weeds before returning to the nest. A human operator then uses software to select the areas for treatment and respective herbicide, which is filled automatically into the drone’s 5.5 litre capacity tank.
Changing the batteries, which provide a 30 minute flying time, is automated and achieved remotely by robot arms in the nest’s ‘hanger’.
VoloDrone ups the output
A joint development with Volocopter, the 9.2m wide VoloDrone has 18 rotors and a offers 200kg carrying capacity. The fully electric drive and is powerd by lithium-ion batteries, which provide a flight time of about 30 minutes on one charge.
Like smaller drones, it is able to be remotely and automatically operated, able to follow a pre-programmed route.
It’s relatively high payload makes it suitable for applying sprays and nutrients as well as sowing cover crop seed into growing crops. I has a standardised attachment system that allows different applicators to be fitted depending on requirements.
For spraying it can be fitted with two tanks, a pump and a spray boom and offer outputs of up to 6ha/hr.